(Post by Ciara Sheahan) We're looking for inspiration around us, aren't we? Here's a little something from us to inspire you forever, and more so inspire all independent musicians to truly chase their dreams, they do come true. Don't believe us? Read on.
Keith Cullen is a singer-songwriter from Dublin who we had the privilege to host at youbloomLA a few years ago. Keith is the guy who gave it all up to follow his dream. He ran a very successful marketing company with his sister Jennifer in Dublin. They started with nothing and built their business into a profitable operation, bringing them both money, success, and a good lifestyle. So, you’d think all this would make you happy, right ? Well, actually it didn’t.
Keith had a niggle. And it wouldn’t go away. A musical niggle, a yearning to write and perform. That voice in the back of his head that wouldn’t shut up.
A few years previously Keith Cullen had been offered a place in the London School of Music but get this — he didn’t believe in himself enough to pursue the opportunity. He chose the business option instead. In 2010 he decided to let the voice in his head take over. He quit the marketing business to focus on what he really wanted to do. “No regrets, ” he says, “I never wanted to look back on my life and have regrets”.
He started writing again, got a few professional opinions, worked on his voice, wangled a few introductions in the right places, worked the local scene as much as he could. Now as everyone knows, behind every good man is an even greater woman. Keith was blessed in this case as Jennifer took a leap of faith with him. She studied professional management in Dublin and completed her music management studies in London. All whilst juggling the combination of managing Keith, running their Believe Management Company, and rearing her son.
As a result of all their efforts and focus , Keith got a bit of a break. He landed the support slot for Shanyne Ward for three nights at the prestigious luxury venue, The Olympia Theatre in Dublin.
This was his first taste of it. He got involved with festival promoters and played relentlessly at numerous festivals around Ireland. During this stint he worked line ups with acts like Bressie, Keywest, Jack L, Jedward and Ryan O’ Shaughnessy. He showcased his own new material and engaged with his audience. Keith and Jennifer were clever here, because they quickly realised the value of social media. They used the festival platform to build Keith’s substantial social media presence. He has 3,181 friends on Facebook and a Twitter following of over 35,000. That’s a lot of fans. Fans = customers = sales = success = sustainable dream of being a performer.
In the last few years Keith Cullen has been signed by Notting Hill Music in London, he has acquired an agent in the US. He has invested significantly in his videos and self-released singles over that time. He has proven his weight and worth to any prospective labels. He is working his dream-like he worked his business and building from the ground up.
He supported Hozier at The Academy in Dublin, he has several industry legends to visit when he gets to LA. He was part of the Guinness Amplify program and just recently performed for the BBC. He has no illusions about realizing his dreams. He took a big risk. It will pay off, his talent will endure and everyone will ask about his “overnight success”. It's truly something to be inspired forever. Check him out on www.kcmusic.ie
About the Author
Ciara Sheahan is a self confessed indie rock n’roller. Live music addict, writer, blogger, festival veteran. Native to Dublin, my degree in Journalism is from The University of Sheffield. With a proven track record in business and a creative side that refuses to recede I’m firmly focused on my future in the music/creative industry.
Maintaining some control of your own booking and touring can be made easy for those who choose to hire a manager and those who fly solo through youbloomConnect and/ or sign up here: https://www.youbloom.com/artist-apply/ where you can get partnered to perform with other local artists, build a steady fan-base, and even get your band on the road.
I'm a music business professional with an innate interest for music and subcultures! Nothing brings me more joy than to hear about people's newest music obsession, I can tell you I am currently digging a lot of OK Go.