On November 12, 2021, a gorgeous charcuterie board was set out for me and other ladies studying commercial music at the university I attend. The occasion was a Q&A presentation from Jackie Patillo regarding Women in the Commercial Music Industry. Jackie Patillo is the President and Executive Director of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) which includes directing the Dove Awards. She shared personal testimony of her journey interacting with new artists, going through life's ups and downs, and lessons she has learned along the way. What a precious and intimate time we ladies had to discuss the inevitable qualms and rewarding joys as aspiring professionals in the commercial music industry!
What is important for women in Commercial Music to consider?
Commercial music is a male-dominated industry, but you should not use your femininity as an excuse (it is not an option underperform the men or play the victim). On the contrary, be ready to deliver. As hard as it may be, as cruel as it may sound, if you are a mother who wants to succeed in Commercial Music, you shouldn’t expect others to accommodate you or excuse you on the basis of your children. For example, be at each meeting and have your childcare in place. Maybe a softer way to put it is: you must be adaptable! However, women should also use their gift of nurture, letting their femininity also be an advantage.
***Perform EVERYWHERE! & record everything***
Look into pitching your song-ideas for tv & movies through sync licensing!
☆What it takes to be an artist:
•Something to say (blog, podcast, etc…) and that ‘something’ should serve people (something beneficial or that matters to them)
•Ask the question:
“Are people receiving what I have to say?”
The way record labels gage interest in your music, blog etc, is by analyzing you social media following.
There is an it-factor, which includes making sure one looks good as an artist. However, Jackie made some cautions against going over-the-top with one’s style. I won’t mention any names in particular, as what constitutes over-the-top can be subjective, but an example was extracted from the 52nd annual Dove Awards. The point is, people will recognize an artist with the it factor as soon as they walk into the room, even if they have never heard of them. It is not just the artist’s clothing, but attire/style certainly will contribute to overall…it-ness.
During the session, a young lady asked if singers are expected to play an instrument in the commercial music industry, to which Jackie Patillo advised it is generally a factor that a singer who can play at least one instrument and write songs has a head in the competition for sure. In fact, I gathered that it is almost essential to play an instrument in the commercial music industry nowadays.
She used the artist Doe as an example, as she can sing her song “Brighter” with guitar.
How to market oneself:
Getting on a playlist (apple music spotify etc.) is important
There are packages to help one get marketed as an artist
Be On Guard
As Christians in the industry, there are spiritual things to consider. For example:
•Record labels do not cultivate ministries
•Artists should make time with God just as Jesus was intentional about stealing away to pray
•Nothing tests like success (don’t let it get to your head)
•God decides to use whoever he chooses (he is no respecter of persons: 1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 10:34)
•We all sin & fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
Jackie Patillo has witnessed Christians in the commercial music industry fail to cultivate a strong walk with God. She warned the ladies about the aforementioned, recounting what she has witnessed and experienced personally.
I pray that you who are reading take heed and remember, in whichever field God places you, that you would only grow closer to Him and be a good steward in each season He grants to you.
I hope these notes were helpful!
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
God bless you,