Getting Started : Supporting Your Local Music Scene
I’ve been neglected the Getting Started series for a while but now I’m back! A lot of times here in Malaysia I’ve been asked about our local scene.
“How is the local scene here?”
“Are local musicians any good?”
“Hmm..I haven’t heard of them”
“Why don’t we just hire Filipinos and be done with it?”
No offence to the people who make these potentially ignorant sounding statements or the Philippines but truth be told we are perfectly capable of churning out our fair share of quality artists internationally as well as locally and I am rather tired of local artists are often looked down upon. Malaysians should support their local music scene and bear in mind a few things when doing so.
1.”Wow ,they’re so good! They don’t sound local at all!”
This is where all the local musicians within earshot sigh and throw you a quick look of annoyance. First off, why is a band or musician instantly subpar just because they are local, which implies that any band that is formed outside the borders of our tiny country deserves more success than a local band, which is nonsense. Secondly, sounding local has nothing to do with whether or not someone’s music is good or not. Why should a person’s music be deemed bad just because they include lyrics or melodies that have characteristics associated with our country?
If you did not realise it before please realise now that by making statements like this you are not only disrespecting local musicians but also the time, money and effort they put in, their teachers as well as yourself because in that instant you just stated your disbelief as to how someone like yourself from this country is unable to be a good musician. Not only are statements like this disrespectful however, they are also false. That song/band you just heard and complimented is evidence of that in itself.
Local musicians and event organisers rarely have the resources to get ads on Youtube or TV. The truth is that most of us are independent artists. Those of us who are not balancing our music careers with a day job to make ends meet are struggling to make it as full-time musicians. The best way to be in the know regarding shows, free MP3 tracks or any additional info is to get to know the musicians personally. Add them on Facebook, like their Facebook page, follow them on Instagram because these are free ways for them to get in contact with you to help market their shows to you. A lot of people fail to turn up and local shows because they don’t even know they’re happening, but it’s not the local artists are not making effort to reach out to you, they’re doing all they can, unfortunately local artists just don’t have as much resources as we would like. That’s why it would be much appreciated if people looking to get involved with the local scene and attend shows would try to meet us halfway.
3.Buy Merchandise. Hire Them. Show Support They Can Live Off.
Don’t get me wrong, compliments are great. Telling someone they did well after a show or screaming your head off while clapping till your hands hurt to show your support for a local artist is great, but when you go home after the show only to watch the videos they’ve released on their Youtube channel or listen to their tracks on Soundcloud how could you possibly expect them to continue doing what they do? At the end of the day compliments do not feed artists, food does. Money that can be used to be buy food or maintain their lifestyle does, and anyone who refuses to think so is fooling themselves. So after you’ve fallen in love with that new local artist at a show, please please please buy their CDs and/or t-shirts. Help them pay for their car, rent, utility bills and maintain their life style so they can continue making music. Help them make their overheads after all the time, money and effort they’ve taken to record an album or EP to sell to you. Hire them the next time you’re helping organise an event, because as a supporter of them and off local music you’re all they’ve got to keep them going other than themselves.
That just about wraps it up for my short list of one of the many things you can do to support your local artists. In keeping up with that spirit this article would be really cool of you guys to check out :
My Faceboook page : https://www.facebook.com/zeengmusic
My soundcloud page : https://soundcloud.com/zee-ng/sets/the-midnight-sessions-zee-ng
Which also features my recently released EP so if you’re interested please do contact me to purchase a copy.
In the coming weeks I will be looking to interview and do articles on local artists so please do look out for that and rock on!