2013 in a Nutshell!

Well 2013 was another great year.

Feel the pain in the thighs.

I trained hard with “Da Boyz” and raced a lot. I rode over 10,000 km’s and I also won 2 races. One of those races was by a lot!

That's Me at the Top.  Woot Woot

That’s Me at the Top. Woot Woot

I really love cycling in Japan especially where I live in Numata. The mountain roads around here are clean and hardly used. Some early morning rides it feels like the road was made just for me. I’m looking forward to next year already. I will upgrade my bicycle group set Dura-Ace to the 9000 mechanical and probably buy a new training wheel-set.

Financially things were great, too. My best friend Ward did wonders with his day trading bringing me in over 17% profit over the year. I could “almost” quit my day job but not just yet. Also, Capital Clean Seed stock which I have some big money tied up in has finally started to climb and I’m excited to where it’ll go this year. If things go as predicted my move back to Canada won’t be as scary as I think. I will pray to the money gods on that one! It would really give me a lot of options on how to take care of my family which is the main reason I’ve been working so hard in the first place.

My little girl Victoria is now almost 2 years 6 months and she just gets cuter to me every day. She’s talking and developing her own personality and fortunately she loves playing together with daddy. She starts my days off by saying “Good morning daddy” and she never shy’s away from saying “I love you daddy”. What more could a father ask for? People tell me it will one day change and if they’re right, I best absorb every moment I can right now. Nothing makes me feel like I have a purpose more than my daughter.

Let's rock 2014!In August, I took 2 weeks and headed to Nashville Tennessee to record my latest album. I called up Aussie Greg Arnold again to produce it and we met up in a hotel near downtown Nashville to bash out the songs in pre-production before heading over to Alex the Great studio to have Brad Jones engineer and co-produce. The recording went well and it was an incredible experience. Brad would drive us to a different restaurant ever day around 3 to experience Southern food. The cool thing about the studio was that it was attached to a guest house which was included in the studio fee. I slept in the big studio room every night trying to finish off lyrics.  It was so cool looking around the room at the double bass, the grand piano, the drums all mic-ed up, and the foam carefully placed for sound just before closing my eyes and dreaming.  A kid in a candy store! The album is finally out and in boxes but I don’t plan on releasing it until January 2014. It’s titled, “Every Sunrise”.

Newest album, "Every Sunrise"

Newest album, “Every Sunrise”

Recording

I also hooked up with my brother in Nashville. He flew in for 2 nights to see me. It was really great to spend quality time with him. We had no family distractions and it was the icing on the cake to make it a memory I will not forget.

My Bro and I in Nashville 2013

I had a good year of gigging too. I am very fortunate to have my job at Lockheart castle. Without that second income things would be a lot different for us. But I also landed a few new gigs that could promise to become a regular event.

The worst thing of 2013 was word that my father has cancer in his liver and lungs. He’s on chemo now as I write this but I should point out that he got a phone call 3 days ago saying his last CT scan showed “a significant decrease of cancer in his liver” which has a lot of us family members excited. I will pray that the drugs continue to work and that my father kicks cancer in 2014.

Love my dad

Love my dad

So 2014 is just around the corner and if there are no hick-ups along the way I expect I will continue to do all the things I love, like look after my family, train hard on the road bike, race hard, gig every weekend, save money, write songs, sell the new album, and do my best to stay healthy and happy. Thank you 2013 and hello 2014!

Organizing Your Own Concert

kelly's concert 048

As I get older and pick up more responsibility, I find myself working harder to secure a good life. This involves hours of implementing and employing new marketing strategies to make money as an independent musician.

One of the new ideas I have turned into reality has been organizing my own concert and drumming up people to come and watch.

As opposed to getting hired to play a gig somewhere (which can still pay well), I wanted to set the bar higher and take control of the whole concept.

Thanks to some great advice on the internet and support from friends and fans, I have successfully done this 2 times now.

Here is a stripped down version of some of the major details required to hold a live concert.

1) Find a great place to hold it.

You need to find somewhere convenient and make sure it has the acoustics for great sound. I chose a local community theatre here in Japan that has an amazing stage already equipped with lighting, speakers, and all that jazz. It’s also relatively cheap since it belongs to the community.

2) Design the tickets.

I made sure to design some tickets that look professional. The cheaper they look, the less professional you appear also. Do these properly and people will feel like they’re going to watch the real deal when they pay for one.

3) Getting the word out.

This is probably the most important and most difficult part of the whole process. You must do everything in your power to find people to come to the event if you want a successful show. Here are some things that I did.

a) make colour flyers

b) make posters

c) make small pass-outs

d) ask for a radio interview. I went into the local radio station with two other members and performed live.

e) Make an audio commercial about 30 seconds long that you can use on the radio (if you want to pay a small fee for air time) and also you can burn it onto a CD rom with three songs from your CD and pass them out. This was quite successful. I passed out a lot of CD’s as PR and with three free songs and a quick spiel on the upcoming show.

f) Get a street team together. Ask band members and friends to help out. I promised some fans they could come for free if they help sell tickets. You’ll be surprised what a lot of fans will do because they believe in you. I also promised the band two different guarantees. I told them I’d pay them “X” amount of money more, if we sold over 80% of the tickets we made. I was really surprised at the effort they put into helping out.

g) Make sure you start the campaigning a good 2 months in advance. People need time to plan and spread the vibe of the event.

h) Talk about it all the time. Don’t push it in peoples faces but there are ways of talking about the event that don’t come across as sales. “I went to bed late last night because I was rehearsing with the band”. You never asked anyone to come but you refreshed their memory that you’re working hard towards the gig.

i) Offer prizes like t-shirts (if you have them), or free CD’s.

j) Ask local shops if you can put a poster on their window.

k) Play at local CD stores for free.

4) How can you make the show unique?

In other words, how can you justify charging people to come to your show? For me, since this was my second time doing this, I wanted to step up the game and make it better than the first time. The first concert I held on my own consisted of 4 band members. This time, I invited two friends (who are pro musicians) to come spend some time with me in Japan and do the gig making it a 6 piece band. They wanted the holiday/experience and the Japanese were thrilled to have two professional foreign musicians adding heaps of colour to the show. I should point out that I held this concert in a relatively rural area. This was to my advantage because more of the local people don’t normally get an opportunity to see a rock concert so close by. It was easier to convince people that they’re about to see something normally held in Tokyo.

5) Practice.

Let’s face it, if you want to impress your fans and make them leave the concert feeling they spent their money wisely, practice hard and make the band tight!

_MG_5020

6) Please those around you first!

If you want to do this again in the future then your name is important. Don’t get too greedy and try to keep every single penny you made from the gig. You might want to do this because you worked 99% harder than anyone else did to make this happen. However, paying the right people and doing it fairly is good business. They will be willing to do more for you next time and you’ll even find more doors opening for you.

7) Make a to do list.

Organization is key to everything running smoothly. I had several lists and still found it hard to keep everything running well.

"There must be someway out of here said the ~".

“There must be someway out of here said the ~”.

8) Day of the gig.

Check your lists. Be prepared for things to go wrong. Try to stay calm and don’t snap at anyone. If you’re going to have a moment, find a place to chill for a minute.

9) Showtime!

Get out on that stage and play like there’s no tomorrow. Do your thing and do it as best you can. Don’t leave anything behind because this is your moment to prove that you’re worthy to be there!

10) Sell CD’s.

Sell them at a low price and come out into the lobby with the band and sign them. Chat and take pictures and be personable! Leave a sheet they can sign with their email address and contact info. This is really important for future contact.

kelly-on-marque-copyweb

11) Next day.

You’re still not done. Now, you have lots of thank you’s, and last minute payouts and things to do. Don’t just leave your fans forgotten. They are your bread and butter so personally thank as many as you can!

I’m sure there are other things that I’ve forgotten to mention but in general these are the basics. For me, the key to success is not leaving it all to the last minute and more importantly, making sure that everyone is happy.

Go get ‘em!

Aw man, is my fly undone?

Aw man, is my fly undone?

7 Steps to writing a song you’re proud of.

Playing iive at the Bunkakaikan in Japan.

There are 7 factors that I require when writing a  song that makes me happy and they are:

1) Emotions: The best place to find these are through the turmoils of your life.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  They are the driving force behind wanting to write something in the first place.

2) Catchy melody: Usually my songs start with some sort of chord progression on the guitar but not always. Then a vocal melody wrapped around the chords in an interesting and satisfying way. If you interviewed most famous songwriters, they’d tell you most of their best songs seemed to channel through them in an almost effortless fashion. If I look back on the songs I’ve written, I’d agree that my stronger songs were the ones that seemed to write themselves.

3) Strong lyrics: If you put strong lyrics with a very catchy melody then you’ve got something to be proud of for sure. Don’t ignore the importance of lyrics.  I’ve only recently realized that they are the “icing on the cake”.  A great melody gets you far but if you have lyrics that connect, they you’ve made a fan or two.  Write from the heart.  Write about something we all can relate to but do it in a way that you feel hasn’t been done before.  For example, write a love song without using the world “love”, or write a happy song with “minor chords”.  Whatever you do, make it ‘yours‘. 

4) Re-writing: This is where a lot of people fail miserably. They’re always too damn proud of their first take and are afraid to throw away something to make the song better because they really like one line.  Don’t be afraid to trash a line even if it was your best line.  If it doesn’t fit, save it for something else.

Changing Chords and melody can lift a song too. Sometimes for example, you can replace the root chord with a minor 6 and give it some mood.

5) Play it live: Play your song to your friends and ask for honest opinions. Don’t let the negative vibes get you down either. A lot of the time, you’re friends won’t know what they’re talking about- but a good song is pretty much universally liked and you’ll be able to weed out the good from the bad and generally get a sense of what is strong.

6) Write lots: You’ll get different opinions on this but for me, writing a lot of songs just makes me a better songwriter. It’s like learning to play the guitar. If you practice every day, you’re going to be much better than if you play it once a month.

7) Sleep on it: It’s weird but often I’ll wake up in the morning and play the new song again and it doesn’t have the same impact on me. That’s a sign that perhaps it just wasn’t the hit song I was planning on retiring on.

But I’m sure I’ve got one in me ready to surprise the world.  It’s just around the corner!  🙂

Good luck fellow songwriters.

In Melbourne Australia with the legendary Greg Arnold.


2011. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

2011 ended up being a busy but fun year for the most part.  Any year you can look back on and recall that you and everyone you care for were all relatively healthy is a good one.

My father had a fight with cancer at the end of 2010 and was very, very ill but he bounced back to enjoy 2011 for the most part. Jersey signed by all the Canucks.

Though a lot happens in a year, our biggest news was the birth of our beautiful baby girl on July 13th at 7:06 am.  Her name is Victoria Linda Pettit and she’s now the centre of our small bubble.

Victoria Linda Pettit July 13, 2011

It was fun watching Harumi’s journey through pregnancy and thrilling to watch her give birth to our first child together.  I’ll never forget that exact moment of watching Victoria enter our world. I felt useless as Harumi battled the delivery bravely.

We traveled a lot in 2011.  I went to Canada on my own for Xmas as I was concerned for my dads health.  He was weak when I was there but he was slowly recovering.  I managed to spend a night at Ward’s and a couple days with Chris but for the most part I just relaxed with my dad.  My mom was in Phoenix and I was disappointed I didn’t get to see her but if I had known what lay ahead, I would have been fine.

The horrific incident caused by the March 11th earthquake found my family and I packing and heading to Scottsdale Arizona for a month. Nothing left. We stayed in my moms condo down there trying to pretend we were on holidays but really, stressed about our future with one eye on CNN news and the other looking to the future unknown.  We came back to Japan as I had to return to work and decided to stay here as things were looking better.  Later in early December 2011, I went up to Iwate prefecture to Ootsuchi city to do a volunteer concert for the people.  The Canadian Embassy had contacted me to help and it wasn’t hard to make up my mind.  Photos really don’t express the heavy emotions one gets while being there.  I was moved beyond words.

In mid November, my mom who I hadn’t see for a good year and a half decided she needed to see her new grandchild and booked a flight to hang with us for 2 weeks.  We had an incredible time drinking wine every night, indulging in too many truffles, eating out for lunch, and always laughing.  She was a great sport for putting up with our small, embarrassing apartment.  Despite the lack of fluency in English, Harumi managed to share her feelings and get her point across quite well.  The two of them together were devilish and great company and I was so happy to see them get along so well.   Victoria loves her grandma and we all hope it isn’t too long before they reconnect. Family is everything.

I had knee surgery in mid January 2011 to try and repair my left meniscus.  It was a 3.5 hour job and a month in a cast followed by rehabilitation.  I bought a new bicycle in April though and by May I was on it riding almost every day.  The knee still isn’t perfect and now the other knee is giving my troubles, but it wasn’t bad enough to stop me from riding over 7000 km and entering a couple races.  I lost a few pounds and I feel rejuvenated. Group rides are always enjoyable.

2012 promises to be full of a lot of the same if all goes according to plan (which it usually doesn’t).

We will raise Victoria here for the year.  I will attempt to ride twice as far as last year and enter twice as many races.  We will travel.  Maybe all of us will go to Brazil, or I’ll just send my family there and I’ll go to Canada.  Maybe I’ll record my new CD in Nashville USA.  I’m praying some of my songs that are in negotiation for movies will finally get accepted.  I’m hoping financially we can save a little more m/oney (although after buying a new car and TV I’m not sure about that).


But again, if in 2012 everyone remains healthy and happy, then life is perfect.Image

Album #6 begins pre production.

Hiroshima showtime.

Song-writing, wrong-writing, and prolong-writing are what stages I am in at the moment.  If I don’t have a good song, then I shouldn’t bother making the next album.  Right now I feel I have around 3 songs that are possibilities for the new CD.  That leaves me with half a year to write another 7 or 8 worthy of being on an album.  It’s been really tough to find quality creative downtime this year.  It’s been busy to say the least.  I’m hoping if I can get some co-writing adventures going it could spark a fresh and burning fire of hot tunes.  I always want to make the new CD sound a little different from the last one but no matter how hard one tries; there are always elements of a song that are uniquely you.

I plan on working with Producer Greg Arnold again.  The established and credible songwriter/producer wants to make the next album with me in Nashville Tennessee.  Although, he is an Aussie, he has some solid connections with accomplished people in the industry there.  Another reason I MUST bring my game face with me.  But as I move quickly through life as a musician, the one thing I know that remains true in this crazy poor-mans industry is this:  It all starts with a great song.  It’s the peak of a mountain.  The rest flows naturally into the hands of fans or into a sea of mediocrity.

I yearn for the challenge and fear the failure equally.

…Sounds like a song in there somewhere….    😉    Hopefully an albums worth!

Social Networks and music.

social-networking2

Here are some interesting statistics about Social Neworks and music.


*This year, 19% of those surveyed listen to music through SN sites. It’s up 4% from last year.

*Almost half of US teens surveyed listen through SN sites and that’s up 37% from last year.

*Among college aged fans listening to music through SN sites it’s 41%. Last year was 30%.

*The decline of CD purchases was most prevalent among teens and consumers over 50 years old.

The purchase of digital music was 8 million in 2007 and a staggering 36 million in 2009.

Recently, recession has made people buy one song instead of entire albums.

What do all these mean to me? If you are a musician you better make sure you are on all the great Social Network Sites because it’s pretty obvious that that’s where a lot of music lovers are hanging around, too.

January Post.

Hey,

Okay, so I’m really guilty of not maintaining this site on a regular basis.  I’ve been devoting most of my time lately to writing new songs and keeping my homepage updated.  So, what I think  I’ll do is blog half the time here and copy and paste some of the things I’ve been doing from my official website.  I’m also on Twitter a lot too if any of you want to drop by there.

river-pic2b

January 20th/09
365 days bring musical joy

Wow, there is so much happening in the world of Kelly Pettit lately. I am just really excited that I have stuck with doing what I love. The last 365 days have been amazing for me as a musician. Here are some of the highlights:

Out of 2000 bands competing for top prize of $200,000 worth of promotions, marketing and gear, I won the Ultimate Band Contest thanks to the support of family, friends and fans.

By far my busiest year as a performer in Japan. I have played some incredibly cool festivals, functions and gigs including a concert where my good friends Jerry Wong and Aaron Grant came to rock out with me.

 I have received some great press from TV, radio, newspaper, magazines and internet.

 My song “She’s Just Like Summer” was nominated for best in Pop at the Hollywood
music awards.

The famous ABC’s Fame Games radio show which has 4,400 affiliate radio stations reaching more than 105 million listeners a week has made me a house hold name for listeners of their show. My song “She’s Just Like Summer” won track of the month a half year ago. Recently they held their annual Effigy Awards and I was nominated for 5 awards (Best songwriting, most popular song, Best overall song, Best song in light rock, Best song in Country) and took home two of them (Best song in Light Rock and Best song in Country). Not bad for a small town kid who now lives in the rice fields of Japan. Simon and brother Tony Cowell have backed up the show and even mentioned my name a couple times.

So what does all of this mean? Well, I suppose time will tell but for now it has given me a lift. It offers me a sense that I really am a songwriter/musician and that I am on the right track. This is the kind of stuff that feeds the fire and keeps my passion burning strong. In fact, I’m really excited to get underway and start recording my next CD.

In the meantime, thanks for coming by, thanks for helping me stay in the game, and thanks for sharing in the journey. You helped get me here.

Look out 2009!       MY HOME PAGE

Here are my February Twitter blogs.

img_16311
  1. I stoled me old mans car once. Hoped he wouldn’t notice. NOTE TO SELF: If there’s ever a time to do that…it would be NOW ’cause I’m mature.

  2. Cold Play kicked butt at the 2009 Grammy’s.

  3. Just dropped a good chunk of cash on Pro Tools 8 and a new condenser microphone. It had to be done….. Back to work now!

  4. Derek Sivers is technically retired but he’s still providing heaps of wealthy information. Make sure you go to his site http://sivers.org/

  5. My enjoyable afternoon down by the local river might have turned into a cold. Hope not.

  6. Sneaking to the gym earlier than work allows but if I don’t, I won’t get it in today. Have a Shinenkai party (start of year) I must go to.

  7. Friday morning and the sun is shining. I just downloaded some updates of my favourite podcasts to enjoy at the gym.

  8. I could have used a few more hours of sleep last night. I’m dragging my sorry self around this morning.

  9. Hi! If you think I add value to your network, do drop me a recommendation at http://mrtweet.net/kellypet… Much appreciated!

  10. Don’t ever knock the Theme Park industry as a major source of income for musicians. If you can keep your case open also, LIFE will be GOOD.

  11. Gonna upgrade to Pro Tools 8. It’ll be the newest & best Digidesign for about a month. Then it’ll become old. Gotta love going digital

  12. I’m addicted to podcasts. I find myself running to them instead of solid music. Sign of my age?

  13. Al Gore paints another horrifically clear picture of the devastation humans made for life on Earth & I’m totally shamed and bummed by it.

  14. Just joined twitter to my Facebook page. One less things to worry about. http://www.kellypettit.com

  15. I’ve been looking for a famous duet song to sing with a female artist. The last time I did that was Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine”. Ideas?

365 days of music

best-song-lite-rock

January 20th/09


Wow, there is so much happening in the world of Kelly Pettit lately. I am just really excited that I have stuck with doing what I love. The last 365 days have been amazing for me as a musician. Here are some of the highlights:

Out of 2000 bands competing for top prize of $200,000 worth of promotions, marketing and gear, I won the Ultimate Band Contest thanks to the support of family, friends and fans.

 By far my busiest year as a performer in Japan. I have played some incredibly cool festivals, functions and gigs including a concert where my good friends Jerry Wong and Aaron Grant came to rock out with me.

 I have received some great press from TV, radio, newspaper, magazines and internet.

 My song “She’s Just Like Summer” was nominated for best in Pop at the Hollywood
music awards.

 The famous ABC’s Fame Games radio show which has 4,400 affiliate radio stations reaching more than 105 million listeners a week has made me a house hold name for listeners of their show. My song “She’s Just Like Summer” won track of the month a half year ago. Recently they held their annual Effigy Awards and I was nominated for 5 awards (Best songwriting, most popular song, Best overall song, Best song in light rock, Best song in Country) and took home two of them (Best song in Light Rock and Best song in Country). Not bad for a small town kid who now lives in the rice fields of Japan. Simon and brother Tony Cowell have backed up the show and even mentioned my name a couple times.

So what does all of this mean? Well, I suppose time will tell but for now it has given me a lift. It offers me a sense that I really am a songwriter/musician and that I am on the right track. This is the kind of stuff that feeds the fire and keeps my passion burning strong. In fact, I’m really excited to get underway and start recording my next CD.

In the meantime, thanks for coming by, thanks for helping me stay in the game, and thanks for sharing in the journey. You helped get me here.

Look out 2009!

bkellyrawkpose-web

For all Canadians who grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada, you might not have known there was a contest out for a new Theme Song.

The old theme song is as popular to Canadians as the national anthem (maybe more so).  Heck, I bet 1 out of every 3 males could hum the tune right off the top of their head.

Anyways, a new song will take place from here on in.  If you’re interested in hearing it on the Internet, just click here or here.

What do you think of it?

PS.  The old theme song is here.

Which do you like better?