EXCLUSIVE: Zoe Konez Talks the Importance of Supporting Artists at Grass-Roots Level:

Zoe Konez is a multi talented artist who is not only a singer/songwriter but is also an esteemed music promoter as well. She has recently released her brand new single ‘The Sweetest Thing’ which has already been critically acclaimed.

But, here at CelebMix we are very interested to find out more about her work with the London showcase “Stop Look Listen”, so we caught up with the rising star to chat about the importance of supporting artists at grass-roots level:

As an ambassador for grassroots music, how important do you feel it is for new artists to get the support of music insiders? 

Having recognition, encouragement and advice from those in the music industry is really great for new acts starting out. As a musician who has performed alongside some amazing and not so amazing musicians and someone who puts on shows in London with some of the best new artists playing, I’ve seen lots of buzz acts come and go and I think it’s true what they say about being nice to people on the way up as you’ll meet them on the way down. It means so much when you’re putting on a show with someone and they treat you with respect and vice versa. 

Do you feel social media plays a big part in people getting behind rising acts?

The average person is on social media for *** hours a day, so it would be silly to not take advantage of the networks that friends, fans and family that are around you on social media can provide. I think it’s really important for rising acts to be starting and joining conversations with the people that like their music. If they can’t be enthusiastic about their own music then how can their fans be? We all want to know a bit more about the musician behind the song and what their story is. From my natural networks of people who I may know, I’ve had people find me online who have then come to a show in the middle of Germany, which is amazing and powerful.

As an insider, how do you feel the grassroots music scene is doing?

I live in London so that’s where my perspective is from but I think there is an amazingly healthy amount of music of all genres out there. I think there will always be challenges, for example, I don’t like the idea of music as a competition, so I don’t think musicians should be played off against each other, there is room for everyone. I’m lucky enough to know lots of supportive musicians and I really enjoy collaborating on music and projects. My friend singer/songwriter Jake Morley runs a co-working club for musicians in London called comusic club which is fantastic for meeting other musicians, sharing ideas and feeling connected to a wider network.

Do you think more acts in the future will continue as indie artists rather than signing to a label?

Most definitely! I don’t think there is a great advantage to signing to a label judging by my friends’ experiences. There are some great labels out there who support music and their acts, but I think that independent artists have most of the tools they need to fuel a successful career in music without a label. It requires hard work, lots of creative ideas, and building a network around you but it’s possible to record, release, and promote your own song from your bedroom and that’s really exciting.

What do you think needs to be done in order for more people to get involved in music at a grassroots level?

I think the reason my monthly live music night, Stop Look Listen, is so successful is because people know it’s curated every month by music lovers looking out for the best new music that they discover. One of the main reasons I put it on is to create an atmosphere of listening and appreciation for the music as so many live shows centre around socialising and the music takes a back seat. It would be great if more live venues had a policy of listening when the acts are playing. It’s also so important for an artist presenting their music to do it in an exciting and enthusiastic way. And that might mean putting on a gig in a living room or on a boat. It might mean giving away tea bags with your name on at your merch stand at a gig. It might mean doing live streams or competitions, or a daily diary.

What message do you have for any artists just starting out?

1 – Write as many songs as you can.They will only get better and better and you will find your sound the more you write.

2 – Open your heart to other musicians. Don’t see other artists as a threat, there are so many amazing opportunities to be had from collaborations. I have had some wonderful experiences writing and recording songs and going on tour with my friends that wouldn’t have been half as good on my own. The music industry can be difficult to navigate and it’s always worth asking other musicians if you suspect a dodgy offer. 

3 – Get lots of experience playing live so that you feel as comfortable on stage as in your front room.

4 – Invest in good instruments when you’re able to.

5 – Record your voice and listen to it back, even if it’s just on your phone. You want to know what the audience is listening to and you will know how to best brand and promote yourself alongside other acts that you’re similar to.

6 – Be patient. Being a good songwriter / musician / singer requires practice.

7 – Enjoy it! It can be tough, so there’s no point in doing it unless you are enjoying yourself.

Make sure you follow Zoe on Twitter @zoekonez to keep up to date with all her latest music and tour news!

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Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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