Posted: April 25, 2014, 1:51 p.m.
by Myreete Wolford.
“You have no time left, let alone the energy to do it.”
Nathan Reich is a contemporary folk singer with a gift and message to spread, but no time or energy to spread it. His melancholy lyrics and finger style music should fit right in on the radio with the likes of Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Bon Iver, but an artist without a label finds more issue in publicity than one would imagine.
“It’s a tough spot to be in because it takes so much incredible energy just to book and organize the tour,” Reich said. “When the time comes to promote it, you can pretty much forget it. You have no time left, let alone the energy to do it.”
Reich has been writing songs since college and playing shows for many years. He said his experience has helped him build relationships with people in the music business. Networks continue to build and expand into this web of connections on which one can build a career.
To further those connections, Reich understands the need for communication and contact. He is not keen on social media, but he understands the necessity of the platforms.
“I still use Facebook to help promote events,” Reich said. “But it doesn’t feel very effective these days. I think everyone is starting to get burnt out on the amount of digital noise we have going on around us and are shutting it out as much as we can.”
Understanding his audience and the emotion his songs evoke, Reich chooses to promote most through personal and transparent emails. He said he takes this tactic very seriously, but it is difficult to see significant results.
“You put the show on your mailing list, you put it on Facebook, website and so on, and people still don’t know you are playing,” Reich said. “It sometimes feels like you have to bang on their doors about it.”
Reich has a licensing agent at Extension Music to assist with promotions, but he said he relies heavily on fans to spread the word.
“You just have to hope if you build up your fans one by one,” Reich said, “it will grow to a number that you can start building that business team around you. It seems to be a bit of a snowball effect.”
This “snowball effect” was described further by Christy Watkins, VP of publicity at the entertainment firm Aristo PR.
It seems like smaller artists cannot catch a break, but that does not cease the spirit of Reich. His work has appeared in TV and films, such as NBC’s “Parenthood” and BBC’s “Dates Like This.” Reich said, “You have to remember those little victories to keep you going.”
Reich’s 2013 Album “All Night Pharmacy” was fundraised for creation through Kickstarter. His newest EP, “Motion Sadness,” was released March 12, 2014. In the announcement released on his website, Reich also wrote a list of projects he is “dreaming about.” The list includes “develop regular sleep patterns, write more songs, learn classical guitar and find a therapist.” Add a bullet point for “work toward more promotion,” and Reich’s year is looking to be filled with motion and no sadness.
“It’s this idea that it’s better to have a slow, gradual build into success, instead of being this huge over night success,” Reich said. “When you build into it, your foundation is stronger and you are more prepared for the bigger success down the road. Each stage of your career is a huge growing and learning experience. You get to settle into each new thing and understand it.”
Reich appreciates the work he does and the trials he has experienced. Publicity may cater to fame, but hard work will back the recognition.
“I think a lot of people that blow up over night just seem to crack under the pressure, or were not really deserving of the success,” Reich said. “It shows through their immediate next work.”
Reich’s music continues to stand as an intrinsic accomplishment for him. He might find issue with publicity, but he said that the most important thing is that he stays connected to what he loves about music, “since that is the only thing sustainable through a lifetime.”
“Either way, life as a touring musician is not for everyone,” Reich said. “It will weed people out one way or another. You have to have no reason why you’re doing all of this other than it’s what makes you happy.”