Artist’s Take: Growing my Social Media as a Musician (7 month span)

Studio photo of Kubota. One of the first few posts that he made when he focused his efforts on growing his Instagram and social media page.

It’s mid-pandemic in December of 2020 as I write this, and I must say, I’ve done more for my social media presence as a musician/creator over seven months than I had done over the six years I’ve been making music. Although I’m still completely unaware of what exactly I am doing with social media, I wanted to share my experience of social media growth. 

If you’re a musician or creator who is looking to grow your social media profiles, this may be a read for you. Along with my experience, I’ll be sharing what you can do to help grow your audience on your social profile as I did (specifically on Instagram).

Another thing to note, almost all of my social media knowledge and motivation comes from a Music Marketer by the name of Adam Ivy. I seriously recommend you subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Instagram if you’re looking to grow your music career.

DISCLAIMER: My experiences and strategies may or may not work for you. I’m just sharing what I know and have gone through personally.

Okay, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

Context

To start, I began my efforts to grow my digital presence in April of 2020. At the beginning of this strange endeavor, I was so incredibly anti-social media. I rarely posted and when I did, they were purely personal and promotional posts. Also, almost all of my followers were pretty much friends and family that I knew, so my “audience” on social media wasn’t a target audience that my music would likely connect well with. All of this had to change if I wanted to reach a viable audience that I could build a community with. A change of perspective on both how social media works and how I use it was necessary, and once that fundamental switch occurred, the pursuance to grow my digital presence became substantially easier.

Instagram

Before I move forward, I have to share why I use Instagram the most to grow my social media presence. I believe Instagram is the best tool for musicians and creators, and here are the reasons why:

  1. It’s primarily a visual platform. It prioritizes sharing photos and videos which are far more engaging than just a body of texts.
  2. It’s easy to engage with your audience using IG Live, Story, or comments.
  3. It’s entertaining not only for your followers but for yourself. It’s a great way to find new talent and network.
  4. It also connects to your Facebook ad manager and page which opens up the opportunity to advertise your music across two different social media platforms.

There are also a ton of online tools that are specifically tailored to create higher quality content on Instagram like Canva. Also, you can learn a ton from the plethora of YouTubers who have a deep understanding of Instagram like Adam Ivy. If you’re looking for a tool like Adobe Photoshop but you’re on a budget, use Pixlr which is a free online photo editing tool. 

At the Beginning

The thought of posting every day was daunting. Almost every social media guru will tell you, “Post every day to grow your audience”. 

“Every day? How am I supposed to post something every day?” was a consistent thought going through my head. Also, I was very scared to put myself out there. I wasn’t sure what kind of content to make and how well those posts would do. 

“What if it tanks?” “What if people laugh at me?” “What if nobody cares?” These were all thoughts that plagued my mind. Not so much anymore though.

Do you find yourself asking these similar questions? If so, you’ve just got to say fuck it, and have fun with it.

Making the Content

Yes, you will have to post consistently to grow. How else are people going to discover you if you don’t remind the social media app that you exist? Instagram will pretty much forget about your post after four days unless it becomes a top search-result for a hashtag or something, so your frequent social media hiatuses will likely be extremely detrimental to your growth and momentum. It may seem exhausting now but trust me when I say this – it gets easier as time moves on.

It probably took me about 3 months of consistently posting to understand the type of content I wanted to create. I was just throwing things at the wall and seeing what would stick (still doing that, by the way), and slowly but surely, my understanding of how to use Instagram started to mold. Now, some may be better at the get-go than I, and others may take longer. I started with a clean slate and pure ignorance of how to use this app… so take my experience as you will. But, what I am trying to say is that as you post consistently, you will eventually understand what kind of content you like to make and how you communicate it to your audience. It’s okay to be unsure about what to post. It’s okay to try new things. You will figure out what posts do better, which get more engagement, and which is the most fun for you to create.

Before you do start posting, remember that the point of your content is to get eyes on your post and to keep them there. The post should be engaging and of high quality. People will know when you don’t give a shit, and that’ll result in people not giving a shit about your post. I learned that the hard way.

I used to think promotional content was all I needed to post to share my music. Oh, how very wrong was I. While promotional content is important, the dynamic with your audience is very much a give-and-take relationship. You have to create content that brings value to them whether it be through humor, entertainment, knowledge, talent, etc. and in return, they will provide you with their support and attention. If you bombard your feed with promotions, people will disengage from your content because it’ll be the only thing you offer. Yeah, my music is my main source of entertainment that I want to provide to people, but first, I have to grasp the attention of a new audience and retain those that I’ve gained. Once I’ve gathered enough eyes on me through content that brings value to the viewers, then I’ll drop a promo post here and there. I try to keep them as minimal and entertaining as possible.

Here are examples of old posts I made; one to promote my single and another for Thanksgiving.

As for the content I personally create, I try to post at least four times a week with each post having its own purpose. One post is for music, one for humor, one for my personal life, and one for some digital art that I made (below is an example). I’m pretty flexible on these as things can be unpredictable at times, but it makes creating content easier than trying to come up with the same type of material every day. This is what I do, and the way you build your social media can and will likely be different.

Something to Note

When I started making content, I stopped making posts that would entertain my friends (my account started as a personal account). I wanted to grow my audience, so I had to make content that would engage a new range of people. This actually led to about 100 or more of my followers to unfollow, probably because they were people from years ago that I knew and don’t really talk to anymore. I’m sure my frequent posting felt abnormal to them when it popped up in their daily feed, so I completely understood why people who probably forgot I even had an Instagram account would unfollow me. Fortunately, I was gaining as many followers as I was losing, and these newer followers were people that actually cared about my content. After a few months, all the people who didn’t want to see my posts left, and my follower count continued to grow. Will this happen to you? I don’t know, but if this is happening to you, don’t worry about it. Your followers should be people who care for and appreciate you as an artist.

Takeaway

I’m probably saying the same thing as all the Instagram growth consultants on YouTube have been saying – post engaging content consistently. There’s really no definitive answer to what you have to post. Just make what you want and what you like. Be as creative as you’d like, and don’t be afraid of trying new things. If you post high-quality content consistently and utilize the appropriate features provided by Instagram, I promise that your audience will grow. It did for me.

Feel free to comment on your experiences on growing your social media accounts! Also, follow me on my Spotify Artist page or any of the streaming platforms (Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon, etc.) my new single was released on!


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“Good Right Now” – Why I Wrote It

My newest single just dropped on Friday, November 6th called “Good Right Now”. This is the fourth song I’ve dropped with Pacific Records, and with each release, I’ve learned more and more. As I always want to provide value to my audience, I thought it would be nice for me to share what inspired me to write this song.

Artwork by Cassandra Chu – @cass.paints on IG

Now, to give you some perspective, your boy is 26 years old. Yeah, I’m not that old but I’m also not that young either. In short, this song is about how I miss being a dumb kid with no responsibilities. Now I’m just dumb. Some may say this song is a result of someone going through a quarter-life crisis, and I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. I’m at a point in my life where I’m very aware and reflective of the actions I’ve taken. As I ruffled through my past memories, I realized that as time moves on, opportunities for my nostalgia to arise will only increase. I’ll never experience the days where I roamed around the town with my squad with no worries doing whatever I wanted, having my first few flings, and experiencing the new world around me. The further that time separates me from my nostalgic memories, the more bittersweet I feel looking back in my past, but to wallow over it would be counterproductive. As blue as I feel about not reliving my youth, there are a whole lot more to look forward to. I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy, and I’d rather spread that positive thinking when it comes to my music.

There’s one specific detail I want to talk about because I’m pretty sure it’ll go over people’s heads. The song starts with waves crashing, and there is a reason for that. The beach and surf culture has had a huge influence on my childhood. When I think of nostalgic memories, I think of when my god-brother and I used to throw our birthday parties at Topanga Beach when we were around the age of eight (or however old I was in the picture below). When I was still chilling in a crib, my dad used to take me to the beach to surf and leave me next to the lifeguard station while he hit the waves, checking on me every-so-often when the sets have passed. So yeah, the beach is like home to me, and that’s why I included the waves at the beginning and the end of the song (as my life started near the beach and in hopes that I pass close to it as well).

Kubota as a young kid at Topanga Beach.

And that’s pretty much what this song is about. It’s a piece that is very close to my heart (although all of my songs are). I hope you relate to it a bit more now that you’ve gotten more details about it. Let me know if you’re going through a quarter-life crisis or something like what I have been going through. I’d love to know.

Stream my new song on Spotify or any streaming service. Don’t forget to hit that follow button on Spotify and save the song! That seriously helps with supporting the song. Much love.

Download “Something” for Free!

So every few posts on my Instagram, I like to make a short clip of a song and record myself performing it. This song that I just dropped called “Something” was conceived as one of these IG posts.

Cover for “Something”

On September 30th, I posted this reel posing the question who I sounded like or what genre I fit it in the best. Soon after, I decided to make the first verse. Then the second. And once I knew it, I had a full song ready to go, but people following my IG were already aware for its existence. Then came the decision to release this as a free downloadable song!

If you want, click here for the song!

Also, I combined all the reels videos together to make a little music video on my YouTube page (subscribe for more content).

In the end of this, I learned that not all my music has to be a big release where I put in a ton of effort. This was the beginning of a lot of music that I’ll release for free, so keep me in mind and follow my socials for more updates!

InstagramYouTubeSpotifyOthers

The Release of “I’ve Got a Feeling” and How I Prepared for it

Welp. It’s finally here. Following my most successful release with “You Are” comes a song that I hope will do much better – “I’ve Got a Feeling“.

With each release comes new lessons, and I can confidently say that I prepared the most for this one. Rather than going on about what this song is about (I’ll be releasing a Lyric Breakdown video soon), I thought I’d lay out what I did to prepare for this release.

For those of you who are artists or musicians, this might really help you out. Or, I might be restating things you already know. Either way, I hope it helps.

1. Double check your song.

This one is so obvious, but I’ve made the mistake of releasing music that wasn’t ready to be heard. As someone who produces all the instrumentals, writes all the lyrics, and mixes the projects himself, small details can be easily overlooked. To avoid this, I go through numerous processes with each step. Double check your instrumental (if you created it). Double check your lyrics. Double check your delivery. Double check the changes you made to the beat and vocals. If you mix it yourself, quadruple check your mix. Same goes for mastering. If you aren’t comfortable with what you have, even with a small detail, change it. It feels so much better in the long run.

2. Prepare your marketing materials.

Marketing your music is hard. A lot of artists don’t know how to market themselves; me included. I’ve only recently started to gain a general understanding on how to market myself, and it’s undoubtedly a vital point to enhance your music career. I’m still in the learning phase so you can take what I say with a grain of salt.

In this context, social media is your best friend. Utilize the free tools available to you to reach your audience that you would otherwise miss. I try to post something engaging everyday. Some posts are definitely better than others, and it’s pretty hard for me to consistently make awesome content, but I try my best. I’ll usually post something musical (me playing or rapping a clip of a song), personal (something I do or did with friends or on my own), artsy (digital design and graphic art), and funny (pretty self-explanatory). I’ll cycle through these four styles, one per day.

Moving onto the actual marketing materials for your release, you’ll want to make content ranging from pictures (you making the song or the album artwork), videos (music video or promo vids), story vids/pics (Snapchat or IG/FB story), and more. Mix it in with the content you create for social media. People will be put off if you post your album artwork five days in a row or only communicate to them to listen to your music. Keep it subtle and engaging. Oh, and use hashtags. I always hated hashtags, but it’s way easier to reach an audience if you us them.

3. Schedule and plan ahead.

Plan your release date and schedule your marketing materials around that. Once you know when your song is going to drop, mull over which days you think would be best to post certain videos and pictures. Remember to separate them across what you usually post.

If you’re planning on sending the song out to blogs and playlist curators, give them a week at the least to hear about your release. Most blogs will want to review unreleased music so give them enough time to do so. A site that I’ve used to reach music blogs and curators is Submithub.com (I’m not sponsored or anything). With it comes a lot of rejection and a few successes, but depending on your music, it could be very helpful to you.

Are you on Spotify? Definitely submit your music to Spotify Editorial. This will give you an opportunity to land your song on Spotify Playlists which is a really good deal for anyone trying to gain listeners. Make sure you submit your music a week or two before the release date though. They won’t accept anything after the release. You can read all about it here.

If you are filming a music video, have plenty of time to shoot it and have it edited. Keep in mind that issues may arise that delay your schedule, so that’s good to keep in mind too.

All in all, you’ll want to prepare your releases like any product launch by big companies. That’s how I prepared for my release; we’ll see how successful I am with it. For those who read through this whole post, I do hope that you gained some new knowledge or inspiration. These are all things I learned on my own through trial and error, and I hope that this will help guide you through a successful single or album release!

Much love,

Kubota

Do you want me to dive deeper on any of the listed topics? Also, how did you prepare for your single/album release?

“You Are” Single Release

Well, I released another single on April 24th of 2020, and although this posting was created a week after the release date, I felt it necessary to establish my thoughts on this particular drop.

After a week of the release for “You Are“, I’ve seen the growth and results from the efforts provided by the Pacific Records team. I am happy to say that the Spotify campaign that they launched has led my newest song to reach over 1k streams (currently as I write this, it is at over 3k). Now, many will say that it is not much, but to me, this is another milestone and goal that I have set for myself achieved. Most of my songs do a few hundred streams at best, but this one has reached and gone above my expectations, which I am forever grateful for the listeners and Pacific Records.

To be honest, I was pretty reluctant on releasing this song. I tried a few new things like singing a bit more and having a more of a repetitive flow, which is a direction that I see myself currently going towards in my more recent songs. I’d say that this was a test-run on how this style may be received, and I am happy with the results. As time moves forward, I will likely write more music with catchy and poppy tunes.

As for the subject of the song, I wanted to create something that was very contrasting. The instrumental was meant to have a fun and uplifting vibe to it. Over what I would call a “cheerful” tune, I wrote lyrics that are self-reflective on how I often overthink in situations to the point of being detrimental to my own mental health. Like a lot of my songs, I am the protagonist and antagonist of my own story, fighting myself to be better but my growth is limited by my own shortcomings.

If you’d like, give it a listen down below with this lyrics music video!

WAKE UP LOW – Kubota’s Newest Single Release with Pacific Records

What is up everyone. Kubota here once more with another blog post/update on what’s going on. First and foremost, happy New Year to everyone who is reading this. I hope you all had a fruitful 2019 and continue to grow as an individual to better yourselves and those around you. I certainly have gone through a lot this year and matured a ton from a year ago. In fact, I’ve grown a whole lot since the time I wrote my next single released by Pacific Records.

This single is called “Wake Up Low”, written around 2018 and completed in 2019. It is released through Pacific Records, and I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to work with this independent label. I’ll try my best to give you a brief description of how it sounds and then go into the subject matter of the lyrics which is much more important to me.

Listening to the instrumental or beat only, I think it’s got a pretty good rhythm. It’s got a fast and bumpy groove that a lot of people can move to for any Hip Hop and Rap fans out there. From what I’ve heard as feedback, it has a hype beat with sad lyrics on top. Wow, it’s weird trying to critique my own music. I probably won’t be doing this again for my future songs. I’ll keep this part short. Moving on.

Let me delve into detail on why I wrote this song. I wrote this song during a time that wasn’t necessarily a low point in my life, but a time where I was faced with some difficulties within myself. In a short sense, the song is about how every morning felt the same, a cycle of pointlessness to continue with the day. It’s about having a mindset that is devoid of any productive thoughts because the thought of simply waking up seems more so like a chore than the start of a new day. I wrote the lyrics with these thoughts and motivations in my head at the time. While I don’t have that same outlook anymore, it was a struggle to get over it at the time.

Some may find this to be depression; others may see it differently. I am not advocating the awareness of any kind of mental illness really. These lyrics were the true feelings I felt at the time and how I felt about myself. Take it as you will, but I hope it doesn’t come across as me advocating for something that I don’t personally fully understand. I wrote this song to be understood by a wide array of people going through a range of problems that may impede their abilities to continue with their lives. When it comes to our minds, it can really be ourselves that blocks the paths to our growth.

Below are the lyrics to my song “Wake Up Low”. Here is a link to my Spotify and Apple page as well, if you’d like to sing along to it. For those who can relate to this song, I wish the very best and a swift improvement to better your mentality and self. For those who enjoy the song, share it with someone who may relate to it or who may enjoy it themselves. I’d greatly appreciate it and love you forever.

Much love to all of you,
Kubota

Wake Up Low released: January 17th 2020

Lyrics:
I wake up, I don’t really know what to think
I wake up, I just want to stay in my sleep
I wake up, not ready to get on my feet
Starting my day up seems pointless in failure
I just want my mind in some peace
I shake off, the blues in the mornings and eat
Every day seems like a Monday, I count it and every day feels like a week
I stay in the shower for minutes, the only warmth in my chest, cold and deceased
Fuck it, sleep is the cousin of the death, and I don’t mind getting close to his niece

Bring it back to the days of the youth
Stayed away from the pain but now it’s creeping through
Every minute going by is just a minute too soon
Can’t be living in the past but I ain’t ready to move
And I know I got some issues, got problems too
Got wisdom but I don’t got the right tools to use
A fool in a dream living reality through
Another lens losing view of where reality stood
I live in a bubble, my mind feeling faulty
I’m chasing a dream that seems more like Jumanji
I don’t feel productive, I know I’m no Ali
Blood pressure high, probably why I’m so salty
I need to think about my future, because it literally comes with a cost
Got a list of responsibilities but I tricked myself into thinking its lost cause…

I wake up low
I wake up wake up low x3
I get high not to feel low anymore
Still I wake up wake up low

I’m passive, never taking action
Fact is I’ve had a blast in the days of my past
Still can but now I do it to distract
I wear a hundred-pound mask when you’re seeing me laugh
I’m okay
Don’t ask me questions okay
Don’t ask if you don’t care, save me the breath
I got little invested in my feelings to lend
Don’t want to know your shit
No point to pretend
(This is me)
I want to do it comfortably
But reaching that point seems so far for me
Pessimist with a little positivity
But losing faith in myself, lost the drive in me.
Don’t care about things I used to care about
Got more issues than a movie, getting Paramount.
I try to find the will to search for a better route
But I feel better, closed eyes, laying down
I want to sleep
Please don’t bother me
I’ll worry about it later, just don’t bother me
I’ll scurry for the paper as the future me
Right now, I’m feeling low in my coffin keep
It’s eating away like a cavity
Filling my mouth with a fallacy
Callus’ growing to slow on me
Seeing surroundings just passing me, casually
Please just don’t bother me cause…

I wake up low
I wake up wake up low x3
I get high not to feel low anymore
Still I wake up wake up low x2

Don’t know how to feel right now, I wake up low
Don’t know how to see myself, I wake up low
I see myself in the eyes of another
Standing in my way
Don’t know how to feel right now, I wake up low

I wake up low
I wake up wake up low x3
I get high not to feel low anymore
Still I wake up wake up low x2

Record Agreement Signing with Pacific Records

Pacific Record's logo found on their website.

I am pleased to announce my partnership with Pacific Records! As an artist, this is quite a big milestone, and I’m very excited to move forward with alongside with the Pacific team.

When I was first contacted by Pacific Records, my initial emotions consisted of exhilaration and fear, as I had not gained such interest from people with merit within the music industry. I’ve been an artist for quite some time now, but I never really spoke with someone from a label that was interested in my music. I was very happy to say the least, yet it took me some time for me to mull things over and gain a better grasp at what I eventually agreed to. Luckily, the team at Pacific create their deals with a thought forward for the musician, providing better deals than most labels may provide. I am very grateful to have come by them on Submithub.com which allows artists to connect with blogs and labels for a small cost.

With our announcement, I can finally say that I have reached this achievement in my career; that I’ve singed to an independent record label. While I am unaware of where this may take me and hopes are maintained at a reasonable level, I am simply overjoyed by the fact that people have shown an interest in my music. I understand that the future holds greater mysteries and the probability for success may always shift, but I am thrilled to move forward as an artist with Pacific Records alongside with me.

Big thanks to the Pacific Records team! Much love to all of you. Let’s get this cheddar.

Foxela’s “It’s All Love” featuring Kubota – Review from Singapore’s Hear65

Foxela's song "It's All Love" featuring Kubota - Single / Album cover

Foxela has a range of electronic styles that he produces. As a young and talented producer, he has built a loyal fanbase and gained a ton of traction over in Singapore. Check him out here.

I had the pleasure of working with Foxela while I studied abroad in Singapore. The music community is closely knit, and there are a lot of great artists that you can find in the 65. We met through a music app that connects artists with one another called Vampr, and thankfully, I got to meet my boy. After a few tracks and recordings being shared, we came up with this song. It was interesting writing to a style that differed from my own genre of Hip Hop and Rap, but I’m thankful for the challenge. The lyrics pretty much wrote themselves after I vibed with the instrumental for a bit, and my vocals came out better than expected, given the fact that it was recorded in my dorm room at the university I studied at.

After the song’s release, the feedback was great, and I’m thankful for all the people that showed their support for this track. A big shout out to my boy Foxela and the people from the music blog website, Hear65.

Here’s what the Hear65 had to say about our track:

“Singaporean electronic dance music wunderkind Foxela returns with a new track, ‘It’s All Love’, featuring Kubota. The track starts off with soft piano keys and electronic notes festering and bubbling underneath. As the percussions kick in, you hear Kubota laugh: A sign of things to come with the track. 

Without any build up, Kubota launches into a fun little rapped verse that sets the tone for the rest of the track, with its lively and bubbly flow and tempo. Foxela does a great job at matching Kubota’s flow, using his production prowess to elevate the verses and chorus. If you’ve listened to Foxela in the past, then you already know his production quality is on point. Foxela truly understands what he’s doing and at the end of the day, it’s all love.”