Many of you have asked “so do you know when you’re leaving, do you know where you’re going”? I don’t have all the details, and the course will change unendingly as the year progresses, but let me let you in on what I’ve got lined up for myself this next year.
I’m going to start the year off by driving my van, loaded up with only what I think I can take with me for the entire year, down the west coast so that I can spend January in Los Angeles. I have been in Los Angeles during January for at least 3 of the last 4 years. January is when musicians from all over the world congregate at a huge convention in Anaheim called NAMM.
This year I plan on going and talking with companies all over the country about how I can collaborate with them in their hometown when I come to visit later that year. I can teach clinics and host jam sessions and play gigs and go into studios with full video crews in any city. I will go to jams and open mics all across the city, where many of my friends have already been making waves in their own scenes for years. I will find someone who works for a licensing company and have them help me set up my catalog so that it’s available to licensing libraries.. I will set up writing sessions with as many artists as I possibly can, put together a band of professionals who are at the top of their game in a city where they grind hard every day. I will talk with studio musicians about how they set up their contracts so that they get paid and credited fairly. I’ll make good charts for my songs and we’ll write new ones.
I am going to ask everyone I meet to give me the names of people they know in the cities I’m visiting. I’m going to encourage everyone who is inspired to do something like this to pick a city and come visit me! By the end of that first month I will have contacts in every city I plan on seeing. I’ll have some live video, maybe I’ll set up a house party where I can livestream to my friends back home (with a donate button for those who can afford to give). I’ll try to post to my Instagram story every day and take pictures with everyone I meet.
The schedule so far:
January: tour down to Los Angeles (a great place to start)
February: back track to the San Francisco Bay Area
March: Austin (see you at SXSW)
April: New Orleans (join me for Jazz Fest!)
May: Atlanta (yeah, I know it’s gonna be hot. But so is the music here!)
June: Memphis (I’ve always wanted to check it out)
July: Nashville (I may come early and stay late)
August: Chicago (hey, at least it’s not winter!)
September: New York (can’t miss it!)
October: Philadelphia (go Flyers!)
November: a month long road trip that takes me through the middle of the country, hitting cities like Kansas City, Louisville, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe, Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, and everywhere worth stopping in between
December: I’ll return Seattle to reunite with my friends and family and prepare for the next trip around the sun (where I’m sure to be expanding my orbit!)
Plans will change, dates are relative, but doesn’t this look amazingly fun!?
“But how are you going to pay for all of this”?? Listen. I’m going to stop paying rent in Seattle. I know it seems crazy but it’s literally cheaper in almost every single other place you can possibly be. I’m going to do my best to book gigs that pay well, and now that I’m traveling all over the country I may finally be able to start working with…...a booking agent! (hope to find one by the time I’m out of California). I’ll either set up a Patreon or develop a bootleg version through my own website, where YOU can become an online member of my forum and sponsorship team. Depending on how much you can contribute monthly, you’ll get access to my online forums (where I’ll be hosting discussions on all kinds of topics), finished lyrics, journal entries, works-in-progress (as well as invitations to collaborate), song charts, exclusive video content (think video blog, random drum lessons, songs, live shows, etc), and the opportunity to become an official sponsor (with ad placement on my website/blog/social media etc).
I’m going hyper-mobile, but I’m very interested in developing a team to help me accomplish all of this. I am a do-er, an ideas person, I’m not a particularly good planner, organizer, email-writer, or content editor. Basically I’m a better improviser than I am a composer (which is why I LOVE to collaborate). If you have a skill set that you’re interested in investing in this project, I’m interested in hearing your ideas. It may be too soon to hire a full team, but it doesn’t hurt to start pooling resources and seeing who’s interested should these positions and funding become available on a more official basis. I am especially interested in hiring a manager for a trial period as I test the waters. Someone to get me started (who doesn’t HATE sending emails and organizing like I do!) that I could later pass off to a more well-established manager in LA or Nashville or New York would be ideal.
It might not all work, it might not all be sunshine and flowers, but I know this type of commitment to making art, travelling and connecting communities is something well worth doing, at a time when I am just the right amount of prepared and uninhibited but not too well-established (or “jaded”). I’m playing the long game and this is an investment in the future of art and music as it exists in my lifetime. I know so many of you are excited for me and want to see great things for all of us together. If you want to support me or follow along behind-the-scenes, please head to www.heatherthomasmusic.com and become a member of the team by donating, joining the email list, or participating on the forums.