A Few Words with Victoria Smith about Music, Social Media and More
She’s a prolific songwriter and an incredibly passionate vocalist, a self-proclaimed “rock chick” with a warm, hungry heart. She’s as bold as she is sensitive, as rugged as she is tender. She’s Victoria Smith, a smart, sassy musician who makes it no secret that she plans to take the music world by storm.
That’s what I wrote about my good friend and former colleague, Victoria Smith, for her official bio on her website. But you’re about to learn a lot more about her here on my blog.
I’ve worked with Vickie, so I can vouch for her industriousness and ambition. She’s a go-getter. I’ve seen her perform live, so I can tell you she’s a fantastic singer with a fabulous future ahead of her. And I know her as a really good friend and a genuinely kind soul, someone who’s blessed with an even-keeled, feet-on-the-ground perspective on life and a relaxed, yet confident temperament that are sure to lead her to success in all of her endeavors.
I recently asked Vickie, who currently lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts, a series of questions about her career as an aspiring musician and her experience with social media. Here’s our Q&A. Enjoy…
Bob: How long have you been singing and playing the guitar?
Vickie: I have played guitar in some capacity for about 11 years. I have been singing my whole life.
Bob: Who are your musical influences?
Vickie: Jeff Buckley, Stevie Nicks, Shawn Colvin, U2, The Cranberries, Marie Digby, Muse, OneRepublic, Michelle Branch, Counting Crows, Elton John, Jonatha Brooke, Jump Little Children, Alana Davis, Alanis Morissette, Neil Diamond, Train, Radiohead, Pete Yorn, Carly Simon, Alana Grace, Lissie, Tracy Chapman, Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, Saving Jane, and so many more…
Bob: When did you start using social media and how do you use it?
Vickie: I started using social media in 2011 mostly for my music profession. I use Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation and MySpace. I just started to use YouTube as well, but building and collecting content has been a challenge.
Bob: What’s your favorite social media channel? Where are you most active online?
Vickie: It”s a lot to manage by myself, so I find that I go through phases of using one channel more than the other. I find that I use Twitter a lot when I’m on the road, or watching TV, or in the studio – when I only have my smartphone. But when I have my laptop, I use Facebook more. I think my favorite channel is Twitter because you just never know who you’ll end up connecting to. I had a brief tweet exchange with Juliana Hatfield, Anthropologie, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil (songwriters), and a couple others. You never know what doors will be opened by a simple exchange.
Bob: How has social media helped your music career?
Vickie: It definitely helps promote my shows, connects me to other musicians and fans. It was eye-opening to realize how much social media is the main communication method these days. It’s also given me performance opportunities that I might not have heard about otherwise.
Bob: In addition to using social media, how have you promoted yourself as a musician?
Vickie: Live shows, of course. People still want to hear bands perform live. I also have my official website (victoria-smith.com) where I periodically update my blog and post photos – and, of course, I have Google Analytics installed. After all, I am a marketing geek.
Bob: Who do you follow in social media and what have you learned from them?
Vickie: I follow almost 2,000 people on Twitter from all walks of life and interests: musicians, songwriters – famous, not famous, local, national. I follow friends, artists, stores, brands, funny people, marketing people. When I first joined Twitter, I wasn’t really sure what to say. The interaction is different than Facebook. By observing the tweets from the people I follow, I learned how to mix up my tweets – it’s definitely not always about music or promoting music. Sometimes it’s about running, or sharing something funny, commenting on someone else’s art, asking questions, retweeting something that really impacted you.
I’ve also learned a lot about the people who follow ME. On Facebook for example, 80% of my “likes” or followers are young females age 14-18. I have people following me from all over the world, from the United States to Indonesia. I definitely keep this in mind when I’m posting content and try to be age-appropriate. I understand that I can have an influence on these young people and I want to be a positive highlight in their day. You’ll notice I often share positive quotes about goals and dreams – I do this to speak to the young, to encourage creativity and individuality. After all, I was one of them once…and here I am today still going after a dream.
Bob: Who do you think is using social media particularly well these days?
Vickie: Well, you might have heard of Amanda Palmer? If not, Google her story. ‘Nuff said.
Bob: What do you think are some of the biggest benefits of using social media?
Vickie: How connected you can be to people you will never meet. It does allow somewhat of an even playing field and some of the same resources that wealthy or famous people have. Anyone has a chance to be heard.
Bob: What don’t you like about social media? Is there a downside to using it?
Vickie: Exactly the same reason as the benefit I mentioned above. I’m relatively a private person, so it is daunting that anything you say online is permanently saved for life, backed up 30+ times and can come back to haunt you.
Bob: Where can people listen to your music?
Vickie: Spotify, ReverbNation, www.victoria-smith.com, iTunes, Rhapsody, AmazonMp3 – you name it, I’m there!
Bob: Do you have any exciting plans for the future? Any big news you can share with us? Upcoming gigs? New recordings?
Vickie: I’m about 3/4 complete with my debut record. I hope to release it by the end of 2012, or first quarter of 2013. It’s been a two-year project, so I’ll be thrilled to share it with the world. I’ll be throwing a record release party when it’s on the shelves!
I’m also engaging with a local film agency who’s interested in producing a music video for me which I would like to include on my record as a bonus feature and post to YouTube.
Note: You can find Victoria Smith at the following online destinations…