After the release of his two albums and a string of singles earning him two #1 spots on the Australian iTunes charts, Jack Biilmann returns with ‘Shade’, showcasing the best of his bluesy sound. Listening to his discography, Biilmann’s distinctive tunes play host to rich, soulful vocals and intricate style of guitar playing, further recognised by Gibson & Maton guitars, solidifying a player partnership between the two.
In the midst of his national tour, sharing his sound that originated from Far South Coast of NSW, the singer-songwriter is back promoting his new single ‘Shade’. We were lucky enough to pick Biilmann’s brain on his experiences within the music industry, challenges and all, providing some great advice for up and coming musicians. Be sure to catch him on the ‘Shade’ tour this November and see the best of Australia’s talent!
Here at MIIO, we are extremely grateful to Jack Biilmann for taking the time to contribute to our Savvy Seven series and imparting some great advice for other musicians.
1. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
To be honest how it makes me feel. When I was a kid I just developed a huge love for music and remember the feeling of listening to music I liked so fondly playing a cardboard guitar and jumping around. When I got to the age of being able to play guitar the passion just grew from there. I feel like any career, music has its ups and downs but the highs involved in being a musician is what keeps me going.
2. Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?
For the past five years music has made up the majority of my income which has always made me very proud. But the life of a musician means quite a lot of downtime which meant over the years I could dabble in lots of different jobs including plumbing, retail, hospitality and even delivery driving for some extra cash to pay for recording, gear etc. I have always looked at my career in the eyes of my family background which is very much about “working hard to get what you want” so rather than rely on applying for grants and other avenues, I have gone the extra mile to ensure I have means to afford what I want to do with music without relying on anyone or anything else.
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3. How do you approach developing timelines for your career?
The past few years have been planned about 9 months prior to things happening etc. I look at timelines to give myself ample time to achieve the goals I set and also have flexibility and time to change plans if need be depending on the factors musicians face day to day. I look to give myself as much time needed to complete recording and writing then look to the release/touring side of things as its easy to forget the artistic nature of being a musician once you start touring heavily.
There are many things to consider when pursuing a career in music! Avoid getting blindsided by avoidable issues and click here for our course Advice for Emerging Artists & Industry Workers.
4. What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?
My personal expectations for sure. I have always raised the bar to be always pushing to do the best I can in every respect. I find it hard to actually reflect on the past and recognise the proud moments at times. To be honest it’s a blessing and a curse because you are always motivated and working so very hard but can lose sight of the enjoyment of what you are doing. I am getting much better at this but still struggle from time to time.
5. What will musicians discover from touring and how should they prepare for it?
Musicians will discover what they are made of and how adaptive they need to be to continue doing it because of it being as challenging as it was fun. My advice aligns with something my father told me as young fell which was “perfect preparation prevents piss poor performance”. After a couple of tours, this really hammered home and I now almost over prepare with rehearsals, taking backup gear, looking ahead with travel plans and thinking ahead. This has saved me numerous times as things can and will go wrong on the road and there’s nothing better than having wins in those moments. Also be prepared to be surprised on both the success and letdowns you will encounter. Ride the seesaw and see if its for you because its certainly not for everyone.
Touring can a complicated process in need of extensive organising for it to run smoothly! Click here for our course Touring Nationally and Internationally and know what to look out for!
6. How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?
The music industry these days is great for calling out anything that is going wrong. It’s impossible not to hear what is going on when there are issues happening within the scene. One thing i have always been an advocate for is there being two sides to every story and feel if you are made of the right stuff and do the right thing you should never have any real issues. But the industry is much smaller than you would think and issues create waves in all circles of it. I have heard about happenings weeks before the media reports them many times and usually its not hard to see who is at fault if you have encountered those involved etc. In summary, people should educate themselves to be inclusive, open minded and true to what it means to be in the music industry which is an expressive artistic community with a place for anyone who wants in.
7. How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?
For me social media and online avenues has always been the most dominant form of promotion and way to communicate to my audience. I feel it’s near impossible to not have a well thought out social media plan as a musician in the current industry. In days gone by I would post videos and photos off my phone and not really think too much more about it. Now days all my content is as good as I can have it with professional photos and videos with HD quality because that’s the picture I want to paint for anyone who is following my music and gives a real representation of who you are. Every time I think I am nailing it algorithms change or there’s something else on the scene haha. I just analyse the success of my social media things I have done in the past and move forward by using what works for me while also using trying to learn as much as possible along the way to improve.
Want to get your music heard? Social media can help! Click here to our article Making Your Instagram Work For Your Brand (and Band)!