By Dave Kusek and Lindsay McGrath
Sponsored by the New Artist Model: Turn your passion for music into a rewarding career
Breaking into the world of independent music can be tough. But it looks like vocalist Angelia Grace might just have it covered.
The gifted soprano is “covering” music from some of the most famous movies in the world. Her YouTube videos have earned her hundreds of thousands of fans since she began posting in 2012.
Her performances include selections from the soundtracks for Superman, Inception and Interstellar composed by Hans Zimmer. She also covers music from The Revenant created by Ryuici Sakamoto, Jurassic Park by John Williams and other films. Angelia Grace’s videos have been viewed more than 394,000 times.
While most musicians perform music and sing lyrics when “covering” a song, this artist brings a unique style to the task. Angelia Grace’s soundtrack covers include the original recording of the music, and she sings along to these instrumental selections using beautiful tones and sounds — not lyrics. She calls it “singing without words.”
“I had never heard about a ‘cover strategy’ before. I found out about it from Dave Kusek at the New Artist Model,” she says. “This is where my combination of abstract music and soundtracks came from.”
“On YouTube, people are just really honest and tell you their reactions. I always want to take this as really valuable feedback,” Angelia Grace says, adding that she is working to create a new music video each week. “I ask fans which soundtrack they want me to do next. I want them to feel like they are co-creators. That relationship is so incredible.”
Born in Moscow and raised in the Netherlands, Angelia Grace is now living in Ireland. She is hard at work on Crystal Voices, an album of original songs with lyrics, due to be released later this year. “Soundtrack covers are a great way to exercise my vocal potential,” says the artist who plays piano and flute. “But people want a story,”
Angelia Grace also plans to release another album called Shine which will feature “soundtrack-like” music. Previous releases include Angelic Healing Sleep (2013), Angelic Tones (2014) and Asatoma (2015).
In addition to performing, working on her Youtube videos and writing her albums, Angelia Grace maintains her own artist website at http://angeliamusic.com/
She also studies voice with Frank Merriman and Edwin Williamson at Dublin’s Bel Canto School of Music, a place that has helped launch the careers of many musicians including Sinead O’Connor.
While most of Angelia Grace’s performances appear online, she is beginning to weave more live appearances into her schedule including dates at festivals in Holland.
In 2015, she performed at the Marowa Leadership Conference, a spiritual retreat for business managers held in Nagoya, Japan. Angelia got the gig through connections on Facebook.
“If Facebook didn’t exist I wouldn’t have gotten to Japan,” according to the musician, adding that she “friended” people from Japan who were connected to an artist friend of hers. “One of them contacted me asking if I could show them around because they were coming to the Netherlands. We skyped to get to know one another better. She learned I am a singer and asked me to be part of this three day spiritual event. All of my travel expenses were covered and I was paid to perform.”
Angelia Grace has a manager in the Netherlands but is extremely involved in the business side of her career. She uses Youtube, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about her music and stay in touch with fans.
She has more than 4000 Youtube subscribers, over 1100 likes on Facebook and 900 people on her mailing list. Right now, she says, Youtube is her most effective tool.
“The most important skill I’ve learned is the ability to use YouTube as a business tool and training stage,” she says. “It gives you the ability to practice performing without a live audience and get perspective that you can learn from. YouTube is an incredibly important part of my strategy. It is my portfolio.”
Instagram is also becoming an increasingly valuable tool, Angelia says. She likes the fact that her posts automatically go to Facebook and Twitter. And she especially loves what happens when she adds a hashtag to her pictures.
“They explode online,” she says, adding that reaching many social media platforms at once is essential. “As an independent artist, you have to work smart because you have limited time.”
Every day Angelia Grace answers all of the messages she receives from fans, Youtube viewers and producers. She says that New Artist Model has helped her understand the value of constancy and discipline when creating a community. Maintaining relationships is essential, the artist says, so she makes it a point to communicate at least once a week with her followers.
“You have to be out there,” she says, adding that publishing valuable content is key. “If you don’t engage, what’s the point? I am building a relationship with people who will stick with me for years to come. That’s one of the most valuable lessons I learned from Dave.”
Her biggest challenge right now, says Angelia Grace, is learning to create professional working relationships with people who contact her. Often producers and musicians will reach out to discuss the possibility of working together. Ironing out the details can be a challenge, she says.
“It is great to have people praise you for what you do. It is even better to have people pay you for what you do,” she says.
Angelia Grace’s goal is to continue to grow her audience as she moves closer to realizing three of her biggest dreams — working with Hans Zimmer; being hired in Hollywood to help create iconic soundtracks; and filling large arenas with fans eager to share in her musical experience.
She expects the strategies she is learning from New Artist Model to continue to be central to her growth as an artist, she says.
“New Artist Model is helping me think like an entrepreneur and is helping me with marketing. You don’t have to do what Dave is suggesting, you should want to do it. It’s fun, helps you get closer with your team and fans — the people who believe in you — creating a foundation of support,” she says.
“The New Artist Model is going to change your music career forever. I’m not getting paid to say this! You have to know that this is the best investment you can make for your career. You need to build your career brick by brick. Learn what you need to know so you can be successful. It’s a leap of faith you have to take. The knowledge has given me so much confidence. How much is your dream worth? Priceless.”
New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo. For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com