Jacy Valeras is a superwoman; from writing songs for artists like the classic country singer T.G.Sheppard, to creating videos for YouTube, she can help you out with your social media presence. She works with lots of artists from different genres and backgrounds, EDM, Pop; you name it. Her YouTube channel, geared to helping artists navigate their careers in the music industry, has surpassed 260K views. We talked about her expertise in all things digital and songwriting. She shared some great insights for artists who might be feeling lost and in need of support. Oh! What a work it is to take care of your career and concentrate on your art. That’s why angels like Jacy exist!
Perhaps you are about to find your next new music mentor.
As a songwriter, how is your creative process?
Jacy: When I first started, I could not play an instrument, so I would always start with a melody idea and some lyrics, and years went on, and I learned to play guitar. I still always find myself going back to how I first started, which was coming up with a melody, a lyric, and a hook idea and then applying that to music. I do that all the time, now if I am going to co-write, and I have a co-writer who is exceptional on an instrument. Sometimes they will come to the writing session with an idea of a melody or some chords, so it’s always different. If I am writing by myself, I always start with melody, lyrics and then I bring the instrument to figure out where it will go production-wise.
Do you prefer to write by yourself?
Jacy: I love doing it both ways. If you are collaborating with someone who is just unbelievable and can bring an idea that you had to life, there’s something special about that. I also like writing by myself because sometimes it is like therapy to me, and it’s good to let these thoughts out of your mind or onto the paper into a demo. There’s good to both of them.
What’s your goal when you are creating music?
Jacy: I’ve always done it just simply because I love it. I start writing, and sometimes it will start sounding like an artist: “Oh, this might be a great song to pitch to so and so, or this song may be good to pitch to television,” but it never starts that way. It is almost like a song is a part of me, and I have to get it out of me, and then when another artist picks up a piece, it’s just like the icing on the cake for me. I don’t have a goal in mind.
What draws you to country music?
Jacy: I have always loved country music, but I grew up in Massachusetts, and it was not a cool thing to listen to country music while I was growing up. It was strange, and I was the weird girl who listened to it. But I got into country music because of LeAnn Rimes, she was exactly my age, and I loved her. When I saw her receiving her Grammy award, that was so exciting to me, and that’s what drew me into the genre, and I never left.
I started coming down to Nashville, the epicenter of country music, right after my high school graduation. I never stopped coming down here, and eleven years ago, I decided to move here. It’s always been a part of me, that’s for sure.
And the cool thing about country music is that it’s always crossover. It always has been country girls into Christian and gospel music, and it goes into rock music, and it goes into pop and blues. There’s so much crossover, and it’s very cool.
Can you describe the feeling when you first wrote a song?
Jacy: I never thought I would become a songwriter. I figured it was not for me, and I just wanted to be a singer. I ran into some vocal trouble when I was about twenty. I was oversinging way too much. My voice just stopped, and I lost my voice for an entire year. I tried to think of a way to use music to continue pushing my career forward, and that was songwriting. My middle school teacher’s son was killed overseas in Iraq in 2004, and the local newspaper had published an article about her. I had come home, and her picture was on the front page of the newspaper. Something just sparked this idea to write a song about it. That was the first song I’ve ever written. I was going through this horrible vocal issue, and I wrote it by myself, and I recorded it. I wrote the whole song on a napkin. That’s how it all began.
Do you have any advice when co-writing?
Jacy: Respect your co-writer. It would be best if you always come prepared to your co-writer. I’ve collaborated with many new writers, and they don’t have a hook idea, they don’t have a melody, they expect me to bring the concept to the table, and it feels like a letdown for me. The ones who come prepared with at least two lines, or a hook, are the ones who stand out. Any writer will tell you the same.
Consistency is key. Don’t go online for ten days in a row, and then you are gone for two months. The social media algorithms are not going to like that.- Jacy ValerasTweet
How do you feel about the music industry and the internet?
Jacy: Of course, there are cons and pros for everything, but I love everything about digital marketing, website, graphic design, social media, everything. I founded the company Platinum Circle Media in 2012, and we provide digital marketing services to artists because the music industry is changing so rapidly. Taking control of your career and presenting it online is the most significant way for artists to get their music out to fans. More than ever, artists can reach fans across the world at any time, which fascinates me. It’s my favorite part of the music industry.
What are the most prominent mistakes musicians make when it comes to social media?
Jacy: I think, consistency. Consistency is key. Don’t go online for ten days in a row, and then you are gone for two months. The social media algorithms are not going to like that. If you are consistently showing up, you are going to see growth with what you are doing.
What’s the best way to get into Spotify playlists?
Jacy: Just starting small, reach out to friends, people that you know who have playlists. If you are showing up on their playlists, other people may be listening to their playlist. If you start at the bottom, there’s a bigger chance that a more extensive playlist may take notice.
It’s so important to find a place that you can turn to that it’s not going to hurt you. The music industry can be so challenging.-Jacy ValerasTweet
How do you help artists?
Jacy: I think our personalities need to match before anything. I always talk to an artist before deciding to work with them. A couple of years ago, I created my Youtube channel (Music City Mentor), which also evolved into a website and now a podcast because I couldn’t find a mentor who knew more about the music industry than I did when I was growing up.
I always made this promise to myself that if I had any success in the music business, I’d become that person for anyone who needed it because I needed that when I was growing up. In November, I launched the podcast with my very dear friend Candy O’Terry; it’s called Country Music Success Stories. I am excited and proud of having the opportunity to bring information to young artists, from finding a band to getting into Spotify playlists.
It’s so important to find a place that you can turn to that it’s not going to hurt you. If I can help a young artist, I am happy. The music industry can be so challenging.
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