Gladstone Country Artist Hayley Marsten has just released Wendy, the first single from her upcoming debut album. As an emerging country musician and performer, we couldn’t be more excited to gain some practical wisdom from the Taylor Swift inspired storyteller herself!
It’s the first single Marsten has released to the public since debuting her sophomore EP Lonestar (2017) at #8 on the ARIA Country Charts and #1 on the Australian Independent Records Charts (AIR Charts) in 2017. After the resounding success of Lonestar and 2015’s Even, she finds herself well poised for the future having independently crowdfunded her upcoming debut album.
Thanks to Hayley for taking the time to talk about herself in such an insightful and informative way – her answers are below!
1. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
I started writing songs when I was 7 and that was that, I was done and music was the only option! I think that’s what has always drawn me to being in music, being able to tell stories. I don’t think I would’ve become a musician if I wasn’t a songwriter. Plus, I think being a show pony only child probably didn’t hurt either, plus I’m also so easily bored. I think the ever-changing up and down nature of the music industry really keeps me on my toes so even the business side of things interests me. Then as I got older and all my friends were playing heavy rock in their bands and I thought ‘oh shit, my songs don’t fit anywhere’. Very luckily I was introduced (via itunes obviously) to another curly haired, guitar playing gal called Taylor Swift and it was like all the lights were turned on and I found my spot in country music.
2. Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?
I went to Uni and studied music and entertainment industries, which was very beneficial and I’m so glad I did it. I’ve also gone to pretty much every masterclass/songwriting retreat I could get to. But I also had to bid my pride goodbye and ask for a lot of help, nobody does it on their own and asking people whose careers you admire or is just someone in the industry you respect is so beneficial. Every time I’ve asked for advice, I’ve never had someone say ‘no wtf, please get away pleb’, which I think is what a lot of people worry is going to happen when they do, or maybe that’s just me?
3. How do you approach developing timelines for your career?
I usually make the plan and then the plan is completely thrown out the window! I try to plan my general timelines around single releases. For example, last year I had 2 singles come out which were lifted from my EP ‘Lonestar’ that came out in 2017. With each single I had a video released as well and then a string of shows and also a publicity project. All those things really helped because I gained so much momentum. I had to move up the timeline of my album to have a new single in March, so I wasn’t taking a huge break between releases. I try my best to plan for the future, especially with getting enough funds to make it worthwhile but I think most of the time, as an independent artist you just have to be ready when opportunities come up.
Need a guide to create your own music timeline? Everything you need is covered with Your Music Release Timeline
4. What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?
I wouldn’t say I’ve conquered it because I think it’s an on-going thing, but definitely recording and releasing records as an independent artist. You put so much time, effort and money into making a record and sometimes that alone is very stressful, and that’s before you’ve even released it! I’m just proud that I launched two EPs as an independent artist, the last one I would say was pretty bloody successful, it charted on the ARIA Country Charts (#8) and Australian Independent Records Charts (#1). I think also getting that record heard as well, I am still a very new artist and the response from radio from my last EP was very encouraging. It’s all just little things that chip away at revealing the big picture.
5. What will musicians discover from touring and how should they prepare for it?
You will discover how many weird places you can take a nap and you should get a good chiropractor for when you come home haha. Touring if you’re self-booked is about wearing a lot of hats. Basically, you book it, you promote it, you drive yourself there and then do the actual show. I toured last year with one of my best friends who also happens to be one of the most talented, hardworking, funny artists I know, Arna Georgia. It was great having someone else to lean on, we split out workload in the bookings, the costs in promo and the driving too. I would highly recommend if you’re just starting out with touring to team up with another artist, it’s a big job, we ended up doing 19 dates together last year and it was a big but very rewarding job.
If you find yourself shortchanged on tour here is the ultimate guide on How To Harness The Power Of A Tour Budget
6. How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?
Well first of all they should get themselves a membership to Music Industry Inside Out. I’m not even getting paid to say that, I actually interned at MIIO back at Uni and would spend a lot of my time watching all the content, pretty much everything is covered and they are always open to hearing what you need to know more about, so what bloody more could you ask for?? I think going to local masterclasses as well, QMusic runs a bunch throughout the year as do the other state music bodies. Get involved in APRA’s events too, sign up to The Music Network newsletter and if you’re a specifically country artist then I think the CMAA Academy of Country Music is a huuuuuge help. Honestly, attending the Academy was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my career.
Check out our events calendar here to see your local masterclasses and workshops.
7. How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?
How haven’t I! I love social media, I use it A LOT to connect with people who love my music and I think it allows you to get to know what your audience wants/likes, how they listen to your music etc. It’s also my go to for advertising for shows, new music, my current crowdfunding campaign. Plus, the ability to see the insight of who is listening to your music with Spotify Artists and Apple Music Artists can be great when planning a tour or planning advertisements online too. I think modern technology has a lot of cool things to give the industry, don’t get me wrong there’s a lot that I think could improve (a stream of my song is worth more than $0.000000000001 in my opinion). But I think it allows you to show your audience your personality and I think especially in my experience, that makes a huge difference to making a real connection to your fans.
If you would be interested in helping Hayley record her debut album click here!
Check out Hayley’s New Music Video for ‘Wendy’ down below!
UPCOMING SHOW DATES:
Sunday 21st April – Canvas – Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 18th – Thursday 23rd May – Norfolk Island Country Music Festival – Kingston, QLD
Saturday 12th October – VDM Festival – Biloela Showgrounds, QLD