Almost Famous

Perhaps the most enduring line in the movie Almost Famous is, “It’s all happening,” a kind of mantra the character Penny Lane uses for living in the moment and appreciating all that’s going on around you. For any artist striving to make music a full-time career, it’s code for that moment everything begins to click.

While this month’s issue will have resonance for artists at any stage of their careers, it’s particularly geared toward those navigating the early days without the help of a manager or publicist. In a previous life, your dear editor worked in public relations helping to promote music organizations, venues, a record label or two and a wide variety of musicians. I found there were many, many great artists out there whose stories all sounded remarkably the same. My mission was to help the ones I worked with stand out from their crowd of other violinists, conductors or singers by articulating what made them unique and letting the world know. To be honest, sometimes the difference between “famous” and “respected” is a well-told story.

It may sound contradictory to live in the moment and plan at the same time, but it’s at the “it’s all happening” millisecond that you want to start thinking about your story and how you tell it. With that in mind, we begin a multipart DIY series starting with “Crafting the Artist Bio.” Readers can create their own virtual press kit and get professional advice by joining The Hub and Project Bio. In addition to your audience, a key constituent discovering you for the first time may be a critic. Music journalist and critic Allan Kozinn shares his thoughts on “What Critics Want.” It’s not necessarily what you think.

From launching a Kickstarter campaign that funded its Grammy-nominated album to collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma, members of A Far Cry fill us in on their working process as a group, sans conductor, in this month’s artist feature. We also have a new book club pick by saxophonist and entrepreneur Brian Horner.

In just nine months, the 21CM readership has grown exponentially, with our last issue being our most popular yet. To take your experience a step further on 21CM, participate in one of our projects on The Hub, like the Connect book club discussions and Project Bio, or just share your thoughts in the comments. It’s all happening – on

Elizabeth Hinckley


What Critics Want

a cellist bends space 4

“Criticism has been around since the first caveman howled at the moon, and his friend said, ‘You know, I don’t think you howl so good,’” the great pianist Abbey Simon once told me.