Songstress Kim Boyko talks growing up in New Jersey, headlining at the iconic Stone Pony in Asbury Park, and how she translates her real life experiences into music.
1. Give a checklist of the 4 key ways an artist can create a brand.
1. Find something that sets you apart from the crowd (it could be a sound, part of your image, part of your personality, or all of the above).
2. Know who you are & stay true to yourself. People will want you to change to fit their expectations & preferences, but everyone has different taste, so if you continually change your artistry to make others happy, you'll lose yourself & your brand.
3. Put yourself out there. You could be the most talented person in the universe, but if no one ever hears your sound, they'll never know your name & you'll never have a brand. This could be YouTube, SoundCloud, bandcamp, live performances... all of the above. The more, the better.
4. Learn how to navigate social media, keeping your posts frequent & positive, & not just self-promoting. If you're MIA for a few weeks, people will forget about you, but that doesn't mean you should spam them with 10 posts a day. Find the right balance for you... ask your audience questions... show them glimpses of your life... & weave your brand through everything you share.
2. How is picking the right name important for an artist?
Unless you have a really common or hard to pronounce name, I don't think changing it is a priority. Certain genres lend themselves to nicknames or stage names, but if your name is easy to say & remember, it can be beneficial to stay you, especially if you already have a following. Of course, if 1,000 people share your name, you might need to tweak it... in which case I believe an artist's name should be personal and chosen to their own comfort & preferences.
3. Is it okay to be influenced by other artists?
It's impossible not to be. From birth we are exposed to a myriad of sounds. From birds & nature sounds, to family chatter, to the musical preferences of parents & songs being blasted out of car speakers as they drive by... everything we hear triggers an emotional response that shapes our lives & musical taste... & eventually our sound. Obviously there is a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism, and we should be mindful of that line, but we would be foolish to say that we are not influenced by the music that shapes who we are as individuals.
4. What's the coolest place you've ever performed?
Growing up in New Jersey, "the shore" was a huge part of my childhood. My parents would take me to all-ages shows whenever they could, and one place we would go that was really cool & iconic was The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. So, you can imagine how awesome it felt to headline a show there and be on the stage that had held so many incredible names before me. That's definitely one of my favorites.
5. How do you translate your real life experiences that you sing about into your music?
I try to capture my thoughts & feelings as honestly as possible in my music, but sometimes I'm more inspired by other's people's stories, & I think that can be equally important. No matter what, there's pressure to do the stories justice, and that can be challenging. I try not to force creativity, & just let the emotions & experiences tell me what to write, but sometimes my approach is more logical & organized before I let the creativity flow. I think of the skeleton, or most important points of a story, & then fill them in from there. If I struggle, I put that particular project aside & move onto something else to let my mind breathe.