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The Best Part of Being an Indie Artist is Indulging in Creative Freedom Says Singer Sherree Patrice!

Hi Sherree, Tell me, how did you become interested in music and where are you from? I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago Illinois.

What is the range of your voice? I don’t know these days LOL!

Describe how your professional career began and when it began. My professional career began in 1989 as a demo singer, in 1992 as a vocal artist and musically published songwriter.

You own an independent record label. What are the challenges you face? As the CEO of an Indie label, the lack of funding would afford the company the necessary resources to be successful. I strongly believe that it takes a village to raise an artist. My biggest challenge to date is creating a healthy balance of navigating all the lanes of my art until I can afford the luxury of hiring a team.

In your opinion what does it really take to make it in this business? The key to success is thick skin, focus, balance, good character, business awareness, ownership of your brand, discipline, vision, and implementation plans.

What does being an independent artist have to offer you? What is the best or worst part of it? The best part of being an independent artist is indulging unapologetically in creative freedom! There really are no rules. The worst part of being an Indie Artist is that it is inevitable for one not to encounter being put in a position of competing with major artists and record labels. While social media used to be the Indies best kept underground road of promotion which bred our success, the pandemic pretty much evened the playing field of the majors and minors in the entertainment industry causing an oversaturation of presence on social media which unfortunately birthed an Indies worst nightmare. The algorithm. I’ve experienced personally where this system internationally hinders the exposure and growth of the Indie’s following. This can affect our ability to get on the playlist, played on affiliated media-based radio stations, charts, and booked by venues because truthfully, they too play the numbers game and would prefer to cater to the major or more established artists.

Did you ever release a song that you thought would be a major hit, but it didn't do as well as you expected? Yes! My single “Tell Me Sumth N”! I thought It would be my first charting song! Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I needed to give it a little more time to register with my growing audience before releasing another single. Although BOTH singles charted at the same time. It lost momentum.

Do you have a daytime job or is music your full-time occupation? I do music full-time.

What is your opinion about the importance of your friends and family purchasing and downloading your single? If we are related or friends and you have never purchased my music …...hmmm are we really? JK! In all transparency, I have had to go in (internally) to do the work to not take it personally Lol! Like any creative. We tend to view our art as an extension of ourselves and if you are doing life with me in any capacity you would know that supporting my music is borderline a love language Lol!

What role does their support play in your career success? It would be nice to say extremely crucial but over time I have learned that 9 times out 10 your core audience and supporters will be people that you do not know and will never meet. Streaming has devalued the pay grade for all artists, bringing them to between $0.00331 and $0.00437 per stream.

I cannot emphasize enough that the biggest way to support an artist is to follow us, share our music and pages, like our posts attend our concerts, tip/donate, purchase from our merch tables, or directly from our websites. In most cases, we can’t really tally up streams, and quite frankly we don’t make money. I personally like to put my sales where my eyes can see LOL! I can do that when supported directly.

Would you mind sharing your opinion on the concept of likes and dislikes on artists' music-related social media posts? From my recollection of the 90’s and the 2000’s era of the music industry the form of “likes” were considered to be record sales! Fans communicated their admiration via fan mail LOL! Nowadays ALL artists are subjected to the public opinion of their artistry on social media be it good or bad. Again, this is where having a good spiritual foundation comes in. It gives one the confidence to draw from the God-given power to operate in the unique strength and beauty of #mindingyourownpurpose here on earth. There is only one of you!

As you share your gift with others, continuously keeping your “why” of your purpose at the forefront of your journey is an awesome tool to use despite the number of views, likes, or dislikes dictated and tallied by an algorithm. I encourage artists (even myself at times) to avoid the temptation to be distracted by comparison and the approval and applause of men. As you may not be for everybody it’s important to be a good steward to the followers that you do have. As artists, we need to stand in the power of being in our purpose…ON PURPOSE to serve the one who needs exactly what we unique have to offer.

How does your vocal style set you apart from other vocalists? I’ve been told that my artistry is timeless, unique, and cross-generational. People often compliment me on the versatility of my vocal style. I am told that the songs are written and delivered portraying soul and passion from an authentic and relatable place.

What is the most important thing you want your fans to understand about being an independent artist that you can speak from the heart? I would encourage them to support independent artists directly. We don’t really get paid for streaming. All artists get paid between $0.00331 and $0.00437 per stream. In most cases and the indie artist does not have the massive following that a major artist has. I cannot emphasize enough that the biggest way to support an Artist is by word of mouth! As well as following, sharing, and liking our music, pages, and post. Attending our concerts, purchasing from our merch tables, or directly from our websites is a huge plus! Lastly, tipping and donations are appreciated which help toward our budgets for expenses toward marketing, recording, and paying musicians for rehearsals and live performances. A last not-so-fun fact. In most cases, the Artist barely breaks even after paying the band or makes anything at all! So, the love and support shown at the merch tables are our saving grace.

What advice would you give to new artists entering the changing industry? My advice would be to know your why! Truly examine why you want to be an Artist. A lot of us “creatives” have dysfunctional, traumatic, and abusive backgrounds and run to the altars of the industry, assuming that the applause, money, and success that accompanies fame will provide the love acceptance, and healing that we are longing for. Unfortunately, most of us believe that being famous affords us to be served rather than serving others. I strongly suggest the investment in therapy to address any previous trauma before you end up falling victim to artist trafficking. Doing this allows you the ability to be fully present to get the wisdom and the understanding needed to operate in your purpose from a healthy place. A purpose that not only creates generational wealth and legacy, as the CEO of your Artistry but also provides the same for others.

What would be the one thing that you would like the radio host to know about being an independent artist if you were able to speak from your heart and tell them one thing that you think is important for them to know about being an independent artist? If the Majors and Indies were playing on equal footing, then we could expect more betting on us. Take a moment to verbally encourage the audiences to support us directly from our websites!

Can you give a brief description of music to someone who has never experienced it before? It’s like an assorted box of candies! Lol! A Lil sum th’N for everybody.

Are you a musician who writes and produces your own music? What does it really feel like to be an independent artist? It feels like newfound freedom from an industry that was a subliminal form of slavery for me due to signing bad contracts. I am free to create and release music without permission. I am free to “be” without the expectation to live up to the typical beauty standards and imagery. I can create the financial value of my artistry. I can take downtime or a break to let balance have her perfect place in my life as a Woman Wife and Mother at any given time without permission. I am the CEO of my Artistry.

When preparing to release a new song, how do you mentally prepare yourself for either positive or negative public reactions? To be completely transparent I usually go on a spiritual fast while creating and preparing for releases. I feel more in connection with my creativity. I am fully aware that my artistry may not be for everybody…. While making music is only not my only purpose in life staying productive in purpose regardless of one’s opinion is key for me in this newfound freedom.

For whatever reason, have you ever felt so discouraged in this business that you just wanted to quit? Yes, when I released new music in 2020, I made the decision to not stream and sell directly through my website. The moment I started to pursue radio airplay. The feedback from the audience war. They loved the song, but had difficulty finding the music on streaming platforms, so to broaden my reach and cater to my audience I decided to give streaming a go.

The downside of streaming for me was being paid the rate of $0.00331 and $0.00437 per stream It was much more beneficial for me to sell my music directly from my website. This discouraged me for a minute because the moment that I allowed my audience to have free access to my music through streaming… the downloads from my website were not coming as frequently. I felt like I should have stood my ground for the greater good of the Indie Artist community to be paid enough to make a decent living by providing the music that makes the world go round. Nowadays people ride our world of music literally ride for free. It was very heartbreaking, but I decided to get back to the drawing board to make a change! I am hoping that we as artist can come together and make it together!

How many singles/albums do you have out presently and what is your favorite album/song to date. I have released 8 singles and 3 albums. My favorite song is “Tell Me SumthN”

Tell me about your latest album/song and what was your inspiration behind it, is it out now at work and people buy it? My latest release is “One Of Them” The over message is definitely from the experience of truly embracing Maya Angelou’s quote. “When people show you who they are the first time believe them”!

How much time does it take to eat a hamburger in a pool while swimming in orange juice? About 2 seconds because I would drown immediately … I cannot swim in water let alone orange juice LOL!

Photos of Sherree Patrice are courtesy of Sherree Patrice

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