Pretty Pink: How to break through the noise and become an underground sensation
Truly amazing things can happen when opportunity meets talent – especially in the field of music. Up and coming artists can become underground sensations. Underground sensations can become major label stars.
Meet German music producer and DJ Anne K alias Pretty Pink. Anne is an amazing example of how passion, talent, dedication and hard work can come together to build a breakthrough career as a music artist.
We had the great opportunity to speak to Anne about the journey she took from her first DJ set to being signed to Universal and Armada, scoring global Beatport Top 10 hits, and playing hundreds of shows across Europe. Anne also shared some amazing promo tips and tricks with us, and she explained how she reached hundreds of thousands of music fans on Facebook to massively grow her audience.
Jump right in and meet: Pretty Pink!
Hypeddit: How did you get into music at the very beginning?
Pretty Pink: I fell in love with electronic music almost 12 years ago. I always was a very art-loving person and explored a lot different music genres. During high-school, I actually used to do event graphics for some music promotors. One day they said “We are missing a resident DJ to play before the main act. Anne, can you help us out? Just play these old vinyls here.“ They gave me 25 old vinyls. I agreed to it and put on their vinyls, just one by one since I didn’t know how to properly mix and beat match records at the time. But I got curious about it. So I looked at the DJs who played after my “set” to see how they did the mixing. That was the start. To improve my own mixing technique, I just practiced and practiced. I started playing “funky house”, a style I connected with most back in the days. Eventually I was asked to play at other clubs.
Hypeddit: What struggles did you have to overcome in the beginning – and how did you do it?
Pretty Pink: I felt that starting out as a female DJ took a bit of extra effort. Since I love what I am doing – playing music for people – that was OK. It also made me stronger and helped me define myself as an artist.
And then there are the typical struggles every up-and-coming artist experiences: experimenting with how to produce music, struggling with how to promote music, or not knowing how to make a living as a music artist. I think everyone faces these struggles when starting off. I am the type of person who will start new things even though I don’t even know what hurdles or questions will come up. I think it helps. Be fearless.
When I started out producing music, I talked to others to see what software and tools they used. I then used Google to find music production and software tutorials so that I could start experimenting with some song ideas.
Music promotion was, and still is, a huge task. What worked best for me was to just send my tracks to all of my friends and DJ contacts in hopes they would keep spreading my music. Also, always play your own tracks in your DJ sets so more people get to hear it. Keep your fans on social media involved and share your music.
Making it as a professional music artist always was a big challenge – and probably will always be one. I believe you just have to put yourself out there, play your music, practice and get better. I read that it takes 10,000 hours of practicing to become an expert in any skill. So invest the time, put in hard work and focus on quality music. Also, be consistent and keep going with what you started, even if it’s a podcast series.
Hypeddit: Knowing what you know now, if you had to start your career from scratch tomorrow, what are the things would you do first?
Pretty Pink: That is a really good question. With everything I learned along the way, there are definitely a lot of things that can help start a music career more easily than I did it 😉
#1: Always spread your music. Don’t produce music at home for nobody to hear! Instead, put it out there, build an audience and grow your social profiles with real fans.
#2: Play in front of an audience as often as you can. A lot of DJs who start off only go for the money. In my opinion, that’s the wrong way! Try to play as often as you can – even if you get no booking fee. Use it to train yourself. Remember, 10,000 hours make you a pro, so be one!
#3: Produce and play the music you are most passionate about. Finding your own style can be really hard work and a long journey, but it is worth it! Just do it and don’t pay any attention to folks who don’t like your style. Everyone is unique and so is their taste in music.
#4: Last but not least, be diligent and always keep working on your dreams – there is not much else to say.
Hypeddit: What tips and tricks do you have for our artists on how to promote their music?
Pretty Pink: There are lots of ways to promote your music effectively. One thing I can say is: don’t wait for others to do it for you. Do it yourself!
What works great for me are blog promotion, YouTube channel promotion and also using download gates to share my music. Don’t forget to send out free promos of your music to your DJ friends and also to more iconic DJs in the scene – even if you don’t know them. A lot of them have their email address for demos on their website.
Also, Facebook live streams worked really great for me in the beginning. I could play DJ sets, including my own productions, and promote these mixes to all of my Facebook fans. The reach was enormous! I would get hundreds of thousands of real plays on my sets. I think Facebooks has since reduced traffic to live streams a little bit, maybe because of higher data amounts. While that means it has become a little harder for newcomers to use this technique to reach a big audience, I still believe in the power of live streams to get your music heard.
Here is what you need to start your own live stream: First, find your music niche and develop a concept for your stream that allows you to play the music you love. The technical tools you need are simply your smart phone and the Facebook Mentions app. Connect your phone to your DJ mixer via aux, put it on a tripod and record yourself. You can also use your laptop and OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). Connect an audio interface like Focusrite Scarlett to your computer and mixer, put a camera on a tripod, connect it with your computer as well, and stream to Facebook via OBS.
While you stream on Facebook, you can see your fans and others reacting to your stream so you can easily involve them. Facebook gives you more organic reach for livestreams than for other post types such as pictures or videos. Give it a try.
Hypeddit: Thank you for sharing all these great tips and tricks with us, Anne! All the best for Pretty Pink in 2018!
Pretty Pink: Thank you, you’re very welcome 😉