What’s Next for Chloe & the Steel Strings?
November 28, 2018
We have been working hard to create goals for 2019, and our keyboardist and manager, Anna, wrote a blog about our plans, along with some helpful marketing and strategy tips!
I’m passionate about music strategy, from recording and release new music to planning shows and making budgets. Before managing Chloe & the Steel Strings, I had little idea as to how much planning goes into creating a sustainable music career, and I’m still learning every day. I wanted to take some time to highlight our goals as a band for 2019, and provide a few helpful music resources for fellow musicians and managers.
Releasing More Original Music
When Chloe started recording her first acoustic album we had no plan for when to release the album, or how to market it. Over the course of this year, however, we have done what seems like constant research to find the best information on how to release and market a new song.
I found an amazing resource for release strategy, thanks to Amber Horsburgh and her ‘Bases Get Aces’ music marketing checklist. Her spreadsheet is broken up by time-frame, from 3 months out all the way up to the release day, and highlights key sales and marketing tasks to follow along the way. Though this checklist is a bit more detailed than what your small band manager might need, it’s interesting to see how a label would utilize their teams to create a large-scale marketing campaign.
For Chloe & the Steel Strings, we are planning on releasing a new single in early January 2019, and another in March 2019, before we release our second album next summer. We’re excited to continue using these resources to help our music reach as many people as possible!
Purchasing a Touring Vehicle
We’re in the process of booking shows and festivals out of state for Summer 2019… and you know what that means: packing up all of our gear and 5 people into my Volvo station wagon! Just kidding.
We recognize that within the next 6 months we’ll need a more efficient and safe way to travel to shows. Because of this, we’ve been raising money for a touring vehicle, and are excited to have reached the $1,000 mark! We have been using tip money from shows, proceeds from all merch sales, income from busking, and donations to our Go Fund Me campaign to work toward our ultimate goal of $10,000.
If you would like to donate, please check out the link above to learn how you can earn free merch with your donation!
Booking Smarter Shows
When we first started playing live, we would sometimes play 7 shows a week, and some shows were more rewarding than others.
It wasn’t until I read musician and music strategist Ari Herstand’s book How to Make It in The New Music Business, that I learned how to book smarter shows. In his book, Ari discusses how there are 3 motivations for booking a show: Payment, Career Building, and Enjoyment. He asks his readers to rate a potential show on a scale of 30 points, 10 for each motivation type, to judge how beneficial a show will be, in what he calls the “Perfect 30 Test.” According to Ari, a show shouldn’t be booked unless it meets at least 15 points on the scale.
For example, playing a small original music venue may be 4 points on a Payment scale, 6 points on a Career Building scale, and 9 points on an Enjoyment scale. Combined, that show earns 19 points, and therefore is worthwhile to book.
In the past few months I have been applying this knowledge to Chloe & the Steel Strings, and we are now playing an average of 3 shows per week, and ones that are much more rewarding monetarily, personally, and professionally.
Enjoying the Process
The transition from playing music for fun to playing for money can be tough. What was once an emotional outlet and hobby turns into a job; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by stress and the pressures of wanting to see quick success.
When we feel overwhelmed, Chloe and I remind ourselves that we started Chloe & the Steel Strings for fun, and that we play our best when we’re on stage smiling and enjoying ourselves. When we stop worrying about things we can’t change, and start focusing on the “why” behind our music (thanks Simon Sinek), we are the happiest and most successful versions of ourselves.
We feel blessed to be doing what we love, and honored that our musical passion can bring joy to others. If you’d like to keep up with Chloe & the Steel Strings on our journey this upcoming year, we’d love for you to join our mailing list, follow us on social media, and check out our Spotify for new music coming in January 2019.
Pursuing a Dream: Lessons from a Part-Time Musician
October 22, 2018
Our keyboardist and manager, Anna, took some time to reflect on how much Chloe & the Steel Strings has helped her grow personally and professionally.
Growing up, my parents told me “do what you love, and the money will follow.” I think they were surprised, however, when my identical twin, Chloe, and I decided to take their advice and pursue music careers. In June 2017, we formed the soft-rock band Chloe & the Steel Strings, and our lives have never been the same.
In less than a year, we have added 3 more members to the band, recorded and released our self-titled debut album (as well as a new single out October 1, 2018), and have performed a few hundred shows. Reflecting on the past year, I am still amazed at how far we’ve come both personally and professionally because of this band.
There are still people who doubt Chloe and me regarding our ability to be successful with our music, and I understand why. The industry is rocky, there’s a lot of competition, and there are no guarantees of success. However, these hurdles are ones that everyone faces, no matter the career. I’ve found that many of the skills and lessons I’ve learned from the band also apply to my other goals.
Here are 3 small pieces of advice that I’ve learned during this process for anyone who is pursuing a dream:
Have a plan
This is something we learned early on – you can’t record music and then drop a link online the next day, hoping that people will listen. Releasing music is all about strategy and planning – most of these plans are 3-4 months in length, when you must start planting the seed to ensure that people are anticipating your release.
The same planning strategy goes for everything we do. When booking shows for 2018 in January, we realized that many venues had already booked out their weekend openings a few months before – in October and November of the previous year. While this information was a surprise to us, it solidified the fact that if we want to reach our long-term goals, we must have a long-term plan. Since then, we have created a 5-year plan for both the band and for our own personal goals.
Work to pursue your goals everyday
The difference between reaching a goal and failing to reach a goal often comes down to the simple, yet painful truth that your success is based on the amount of time you commit. I’ve heard many young people talk about their dreams and plans for 10 years down the road, but on a day-to-day basis, those people aren’t doing anything to reach their long-term goal.
With our music, Chloe and I try to spend at least 30 minutes per day on making progress for the band. Whether that be emailing venues, planning social media posts, or practicing for shows, there are many small ways that we work every day to reach long-term success.
Don’t compare yourself to others
There is unavoidable competition in almost any life path, and with that comes self-doubt and comparison. Comparison can go both directions – you can compare yourself to someone who is doing better than you, or you can compare yourself to someone who is doing worse. Both modes of comparison are harmful because they move your focus from the path that you’re on, to one that someone else is on.
We’ve realized that every artist and musician is on his or her own path, and that we’re the only people we can be. While we have learned a lot from the companionship and leadership of older, more established bands, we try to avoid comparing our success to theirs, since we’re not on the same path.
I hope our story inspires you to continue pursuing your own goals in an intentional way! For more information about Chloe & the Steel Strings, visit our website, and Facebook. And listen to our new single, ‘Like Mad,’ on Spotify.
Behind the Strings: Chasing a Dream with a New Single
September 26, 2018
Recently, content writer Mark Moss of Free Spirit Music Management had the opportunity to sit down with Chloe for an in-depth perspective on the release of our new single Like Mad, out Monday October 1st!
FSMM: Chloe, it’s nice to see you again, tell me-what’s new with the band since we last spoke?
Chloe: Gosh where to begin…lots to say the least! We had a very busy summer performing at various festivals and shows across northern Ohio and southern Michigan, and we had our first show in Chicago at the historic Elbo Room. It’s been hard work but we’ve had tons of fun every step of the way.
FSMM: What’s the update on the tour bus?
Chloe: We have some work to do but are grateful for the donations that have poured in from friends, family, and listeners. We honestly cannot do it without any of them and they all push us to continue to spread our music to more locations around the area and beyond! To help us achieve our dream, find us on GoFundMe-we’re giving away free merchandise for donations!
FSMM: Well, I certainly hope to join you all for a ride on the bus soon! So, first off, thank you for allowing me to be one of the first to listen to the single. It truly is a great song, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up on the radio. Could you tell everyone where the idea for Like Mad originated from?
Chloe: Well, to start, I actually wrote the lyrics to the song over a year ago. It was before Chloe and the Steel Strings came about. It was a cool late-October night and Conner and I were not on the same page relationship wise. I was over at his house watching Wayne’s World and he asked if I could hang out another time because friends were coming over. Internally I was really upset by this. Were we together, were we not? I didn’t know. He was so confusing! But what I did know then is that I wanted to be with Conner Like Mad. So, that night, I went home and wrote the lyrics you hear today. We later worked it out that night and have been together since! To me the song was about doing whatever it takes to be with him.
FSMM: Wow, I had no idea! Amazing to hear that was written before the band was even in existence. I’m sure everyone can appreciate and even relate to this song on some level at one time or another. How was the recording process?
Chloe: The recording process was pretty smooth. It helped having already recorded an album a year ago. That album was a huge learning process for us. I would say this time we were much more prepared in terms of our vision for the song. We were also fortunate to have an excellent producer, Jordan Disorbo, from Glass Arrow Audio in Toledo, OH. He worked with us to really understand the vibe we were going for, and we couldn’t be happier with how the song turned out.
FSMM: So what’s next for Chloe and the Steel Strings?
Chloe: I think the sky’s the limit. We continue to grow as a band and as individuals. We’ve learned so much about what it takes and it’s not easy, but we’re taking time to enjoy the process. After all, you can’t expect anything worthwhile to happen overnight. We have several upcoming shows this fall including a performance at Swig on October 5th, Ye Olde Durty Bird on October 12th and the Apple Butter Festival in Grand Rapids, OH on October 14th. This has been our first full year as a band, and our biggest year yet – we’re excited for 2019 to see all that we can accomplish!
Be sure to check out and follow Chloe & the Steel Strings on Spotify and add their new single Like Mad to your playlist on October 1st!
Blog by Mark Moss of Freespirit Music Management
Behind the Strings: Chicago Bound
July 30, 2018
Chloe & the Steel Strings is crossing state lines this week and taking their good vibes to the third largest city in the United States, Chicago. To this point, the band has stayed local, performing across northern Ohio and southern Michigan. But on August 2nd, they will be expanding their reach by performing at The Elbo Room.
Known for supporting local and emerging bands for the past 30 years, The Elbo room has been a hot-spot for music entertainment with bands from all across the country. Several of these bands have gone on to become national and international success stories. Bands such as John Butler Trio, Wild Belle, Cage The Elephant, and Amos Lee are some of the most notable groups to play Elbo Room’s stage.
It will be a show that not only features the Strings but also another emerging Chicago band: alternative rock band People Seen in Cars, which consists of members from both Chicago and St. Louis.
“This show is a milestone for us,” states Connor. “We play quite a bit in the Ohio and Michigan areas, but it has been a goal of ours to start traveling more throughout the midwest.”
The goal of traveling is currently in its infancy, since most of the band is still in college. “We’re planning on setting up a small festival tour for next summer,” says Anna, “so this show will give us a taste for what it’s like to be on the road.” This performance in Chicago is only the beginning of what’s to come, and the band is enjoying every minute of it.
“We’ve been working hard on our original music, and it’ll be a great experience to play more originals. We’re hoping that this show at Elbo Room will be one of many Chicago-area shows to come!”
Click here for a list of Chloe & the Steel Strings upcoming shows.
Blog by Mark Moss of Freespirit Music Management.
Chloe & the Steel Strings putting together fast rise
July 12, 2018
The Toledo Blade did an awesome spotlight on July 12th to highlight our progress as a band!
“When Chloe Wagenhauser put together songs for her Spotify album, it was simply to give family and friends a recollection of her music.
But now looking back about a year later, it’s become so much more.
The album was created as the band Chloe & the Steel Strings began to take shape, and as Miss Wagenhauser sees it, having a produced album out already has helped the band quickly rise up the ranks of Toledo-area bands.
While Chloe mentions Fleetwood Mac as the band’s biggest influence, this band comprises Toledoans in their early 20s.
“Because we’re a new band, we’re looking for a lot of new growth in the up and coming couple of years,” Miss Wagenhauser said. “We’re growing the venues we play, the festivals, this has been a really busy summer for us so far. … This is what we really want to do. I have a good feeling about it. I feel like this is really what we’re meant to do.”
– The Toledo Blade
Check out the full blog article, and an exclusive acoustic performance video of our upcoming single, titled “Like Mad” here.
Behind the Strings: Waterloo Arts Festival
June 19, 2018
Chloe & the Steel Strings’ dream continues as they travel to Cleveland next week to make their first appearance at the 16th Annual Waterloo Arts Fest on Saturday, June 30th. The festival features 40 Cleveland-area bands, as well as handmade art vendors, food trucks, and interactive art experiences. Bass guitarist Connor Ward is calling it “the biggest local music festival in Cleveland,” and is excited for the band to break further into the Cleveland music scene.
Since 2002, the Waterloo Arts Festival has entertained and inspired festival attendees and participants. Located along the lakeshore just outside Cleveland, the once economically-deprived neighbourhood of Collinwood has revived and transformed into a local arts district with several art studios, galleries, shops and eateries. The festival is sponsored by Waterloo Arts, a nonprofit organization that works to stimulate the area’s economic and cultural development through art exhibits, educational opportunities, and live performances.
“We’re starting to see results,” says manager and keyboardist Anna Wagenhauser, “Chloe and the Steel Strings was selected out of 90 band submissions, and for a young band like us, it shows that people are responding well to both our recorded music and our live performances.” Lead singer Chloe Wagenhauser agrees: “playing at Waterloo is a big deal for us. Between June and October of this year, we’ll be playing some of the biggest local music festivals in Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan.”
Not only will Chloe & the Steel Strings be at Waterloo in June, they’ll also be performing at the Crosby Arts Festival in Toledo on June 24th, the Ann Arbor Arts Festival in July, and the Applebutter Festival in October.
“It’s hard to believe that we just celebrated the 1-year anniversary of our first show as ‘Chloe & the Steel Strings’ a few weeks ago, and now we’re playing summer festivals. It gives us motivation, knowing that our hard work is paying off.”
Chloe & the Steel Strings will be performing at Waterloo Arts Fest on Saturday, June 30, 2018 from 5:10 to 5:50pm on the E. 160th Stage (the corner of E. 160th and Waterloo Rd.). Enjoy live music, food and spectacular art. The event is free and open to all ages.
Blog by Mark Moss of Freespirit Music Management.
Behind the Strings: The Marathon of May
June 8, 2018
Last month, Chloe & the Steel Strings had their busiest weekend since the band’s formation a year ago. From Thursday May 17th to Saturday May 19th, four shows and over 10 hours of music were played between Chloe, Connor, Anna, Pete and Andre. In the words of bassist and vocalist Connor Ward, the weekend was both “exciting and exhausting,” and rightfully so. Until that weekend, Chloe & the Steel Strings had never performed four shows in a 3-day period.
On Thursday May 17th at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Toledo, the band kicked off the weekend with a laid-back set on the outdoor patio. Vocalist Chloe Wagenhauser remarked on kicking off the weekend at Fuzzy’s: “Playing at Fuzzy’s is the perfect way to ease into a weekend of shows. Connor and I take turns singing on some of our songs to save my voice if we have a busy schedule.”
The night at Fuzzy’s rolled on as the acoustic duo played a mix of covers and originals to the delight of customers. It was a good warm-up for the challenge up ahead: on Saturday they would be playing two shows, one at the Fremont Fishing and Outdoor Festival, and the other at Bierstube in Toledo. However first, Chloe & the Steel Strings were off to Ye Olde Durty Bird on Friday night for their monthly show at one of Toledo’s best live music venues.
The performance at Ye Olde Durty Bird was smooth sailing as Connor picked, and Chloe once again split vocal time in preparation for Saturday’s festival in Fremont. Anna played keys, with Pete on electric guitar, and Andre keeping rhythm on the drums. A night of good vibes and delicious food made for a vibrant spring evening for customers. One regular customer in particular complimented the band on their synchronicity when playing, “I’ve seen Chloe & the Steel Strings play here for the past few months, and they really seemed dialed-in tonight”.
As Friday quickly turned into Saturday, it was time to head to Fremont for the second annual Fishing and Outdoor Festival and cross the finish line of the band’s musical marathon. Festival goers strolled by as the band continued to play and some generous fans stopped by to provide tips and applause. Keyboardist and manager, Anna Wagenhauser provide her thoughts on playing at the festival: “Though playing three hours of music can be tiring, when we’re up there, the music never seems like work. We get in our zone, and always have fun.” The fun could be seen from their smiles as they decided to set-up on a busy street corner in downtown Fremont, where they could be closer to festival-goers. Chloe remarked on her perspective on being close to the audience stating:
“Our style of music is more intimate – we like to connect with our audience on a personal level, so playing on the street corner was perfect for this show.”
After the festival, Chloe and Connor capped the weekend off by performing at Bierstube in Toledo for an hour of acoustic original music. With the support of one another and the sheer enjoyment of spreading positive vibes through music, Chloe and Connor came home that evening satisfied from a job well done. “We feel lucky to be able to share our passion for music with others,” Connor said. Chloe & the Steel Strings will be sprinting to their next music marathon soon, as they gear up for more busy weekends in mid-June.
Be sure to see Chloe & the Steel Strings’ next big festivals at the Crosby Arts Festival in Toledo on June 23rd, and Waterloo Arts Festival in Lakewood, Ohio on June 30th.
Check out their full list of shows here.