Music industry veteran Chandra Lynn launched Glow Marketing LLC in January 2000 as a marketing consulting business for the music industry and consumer goods. However, she founded her company with a different twist: providing inspiration, positive influence, and emotional health and wellbeing, which she does via her partner lifestyle brand, Glow Living. A certified coach, she created the platform as a free community to provide resources, outreach, and educational information to help others in their quest for a healthy life, healthy attitude, and search for purpose.
Owning and operating one business is challenging enough. Owning two is unfathomable for most. Chandra Lynn makes it seem effortless while seamlessly combining her companies to bring the best of both worlds to her clients and her audience. In January, she brought her successful online “Lessons Learned” video series to the winter NAMM show, where she was joined by musicians Omar Hakim and Rachel Z in an inspiring panel discussion.
Guitar Girl connected with Chandra Lynn to learn more about Glow Living, Glow Marketing, and her goals. She graciously shared some of her insight about the music industry, offered tips for navigating social media when building a brand, and gave us a look into her guidelines for personal growth.
After a lengthy and successful career spanning almost 20 years in the music industry, including public relations, artist relations, concert promotions, marketing, and MI, you made a career change by founding Glow Living and Glow Marketing. Why the transition and why at that particular time?
I’m in the time of my life where I want to share what I have learned from my experiences, and help others to share their shortcuts to greatness. I’m not leaving the music industry. I’m pioneering a new area of the industry by bridging it to personal growth and healthy living. I’m leveraging my relationships with the leaders and stars of the industry to inspire people to love life.
Artists are great teachers and have impactful insights on:
- how to stay true to themselves by forging a creative career instead of a traditional one;
- how to unlock creativity;
- how to achieve live/work balance when they are required to tour and work on nights and weekends;
- how to embrace growth and uncertainty as a way of life;
- how to stay fit and healthy in a world full of drugs, alcohol, and fast food;
- how to nurture intimate relationships while traveling and going through ups and downs financials and with depression, egotist desires, anxiety, and self-esteem issues;
- and much more.
The world needs to learn from all of us, and Glow Living is the stage I have created for this interaction.
As you stated, you haven’t left the music industry — some of your marketing clients are MI companies. What is important in marketing and promotion within the industry during this digital age versus the industry of the 1990s?
My whole career has been promoting other people’s products and services, and I’ve learned a lot. Now that I’m focusing on promoting my own brand with Glow Living, I have learned first-hand what it takes to stand out.
The minute the Internet connected us, I jumped on it. For example, I earned an electronic publishing award for Keyboard Magazine’s first website in 1994, and also used it to get my arms around huge audiences of concert-goers while at Bill Graham Presents while promoting over 400 concerts per year.
What has changed is that social networks have given everyone an opportunity to promote, so it’s harder to get attention. For me, it’s about finding ways to use it to attract the right audience by being authentic and allowing for organic growth.
Magazines have suffered greatly, and many have been slow to adapt their business models, while blogs and forum sites have grown larger audiences because they were built online from the ground up. You can’t just run slick branding ads in a few key magazines to create a launch. It’s all about connecting authentically and developing direct relationships with your audience. As a result, I see social media feeding direct marketing programs as a key strategy for success.
How does Glow Marketing specialize in these capacities? What makes you stand apart as the company that the music industry should turn to?
What sets Glow Marketing apart boils down to three things: (1) marketing strategy and vision based on experience, (2) amazing longstanding relationships within the music industry, especially with press and artist communities, and (3) business and executive coaching that supports clients’ long-term career and personal success. Although I can bring in a team to support campaigns and projects, I often find working with senior management and their internal teams takes them to the next level. I used to promote Glow Marketing as a “do it for you” service business, but now I serve clients at a higher level when they want to engage me because I’m an idea person with vision.
With the free tools of social media and its many platforms at their fingertips, independent musicians can easily market, promote, and “build their brand.” However, that doesn’t mean they are utilizing these tools efficiently, effectively, or properly. What are some “right and wrong” approaches that you see when you look at musician and company websites and social media pages?
Being an artist or in a band is tied so closely with who someone is as a person, and there is a fine line between promoting their authenticity and causing boundary issues that make them vulnerable. To prevent these issues, I advise artists to see their public persona as a brand. That doesn’t mean they have to be commercial; it means they have to be professional and think through how they want to be perceived. I believe they need to find a way to promote an image that authentically resonates with their target audience.
Sometimes I see bands missing the mark on how to communicate their own brand. Their graphics, photos, and materials may not be professional enough for the audience to see them as big-time. And in some cases, it’s too slick and people don’t connect with it. The right way, in my view, is to visualize your perfect fan — maybe someone real who you can think of every time to decide to make a post. Ask yourself if the way you wrote it would appeal to them, and what they would think of the photo, video, or music you are sharing. If you don’t know, ask someone who fits the bill, or involve your audience when choosing an album cover art or promo photo. They love that kind of authentic engagement and will feel part of supporting your success. Then, reward them with your gratitude and appreciation as often as possible. You can do this with free downloads, enter-to-win contents, intimate videos, etc. Lastly, invest in professional help, when possible, when developing your creative materials. A good web developer, photographer, videographer, fashion stylist, and other creative resources can help you communicate your brand authentically and with style, if properly directed.
Glow Living is about personal growth and healthy living — not exactly concepts we associate with the hedonism and debauchery of the music industry. How does your video series, “Lessons Learned,” break down those stereotypes to present another side of the industry and the artists?
I’m all about having fun and fully support what is exciting about being in the music industry. For me, the key is to look at what your real human needs are so that you can get them met in a way that is in alignment to your highest self.
I read somewhere that The Weeknd reported fears about being able to be creative without being under the influence because that’s where all of his hits have come from. Drugs and alcohol are thought to loosen people up and seemingly remove blocks from their creative process. However, I contend that it’s only at first and is not sustaining. Consider all the one-hit wonders or great artists that fizzled out, and if their lifestyle was to blame for their demise. Watch VH1 Behind the Music for tons of examples. Also, how many of the greats have died due to this lifestyle?
Artists that are able to explore their own fears, vulnerabilities, and anxieties during the creative process have huge hits because people can relate to their authenticity and vulnerability. Case in point: Adele.
I believe there is a deeper level of satisfaction when artists celebrate a hit record that came from the heart, because it’s meaningful to them. Artists that come out with pop hits that are surface level have reasons to celebrate too, but usually have dissatisfaction brewing underneath because they wish they could find a way to express themselves authentically. Learning to open yourself up naturally to the flow of creativity is one of the most awesome experiences an artist can have. And if they want to celebrate that with a bottle of champagne on a private jet, more power to them!
Exploring these concepts in my “Lessons Learned” series will hopefully help budding artists learn to master their craft without falling down the rabbit hole of meeting their needs in self-destructive ways.
Chandra Lynn with Omar Hakim and Rachel Z at NAMM 2017
Last month, you brought “Lessons Learned” to the NAMM Idea Stage. What inspired you to take the show on the road, and particularly to present those sessions at NAMM?
Zach Phillips, NAMM’s Director of Professional Development, saw my “Lessons Learned” video with Steve Vai and asked me if I’d consider doing one live. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and am immensely grateful for the opportunity.
Why did you select Omar Hakim and Rachel Z for this event?
I’ve known Omar and Rachel for over a decade and have had many long conversations with them about their careers. The combination of being stars of the NAMM Show every year, as well as deep, mindful people with incredible life stories, made selecting them a no-brainer. I love them as friends, and have felt almost guilty about being a private witness to their stories because they are so rich and meaningful. Being able to give the NAMM audience a glimpse at their souls and storytelling was the biggest gift I could offer the attendees.
Who was your target audience for the sessions and what do you hope they took with them as a result of attending?
Everyone was welcome. Secretly, I had hoped that we’d attract more than fellow drummers and keyboard players. And we did. It took 90 minutes to clear out the line of people that came to express their gratitude after the session, and I was pleased to see they were from all aspects of the industry.
The result was what I want everyone to get out of all of my “Lessons Learned” interviews: tips that allow them to love life! We all need insights on how to show up fully and overcome challenges, and when someone learns a lesson from someone else’s experience, it grows and expands them in a way that creates hope and optimism for embodying a life they love.
Winter NAMM was busy for you. In addition to “Lessons Learned,” you were a TEC Tracks panelist and hosted a pro-audio panel for Plugin Alliance. You’re no stranger to NAMM shows, having taught seminars there before and of course attended as an MI professional. How have the shows changed over the years and why do they remain integral to our industry?
What I love about the organizers of NAMM is they are always looking for ways to improve the show. The basis of the show is for music instrument manufacturers to show their new products and, in many cases, get orders from dealers. Now, the show has grown to serve many aspects of the industry, so I’ve seen new exhibitor categories and the addition of different educational content with the Idea Center sessions, TEC Tracks, and other aspects being added.
Maybe Glow Living and “Lessons Learned” will help pioneer a health and wellness side to the NAMM Show in the coming years. I heard yoga classes were being held at The Hilton in the mornings, so I know I’m not alone in seeing the need for this.
Will there be more “Lessons Learned Live” episodes, perhaps presented and recorded at trade shows, concerts, festivals, and other music industry events?
Most definitely! All the footage is currently being shared for free on GlowLiving.com, and I am seeking new opportunities for “Lessons Learned” as we speak. I have some amazing talent to feature and am looking for an underwriter to help with production costs.
I have been booked to speak on the Ultimate Guitar Cruise this November and will release details soon. So, for those of you who want a fun trip to Cabo, stay tuned! For this and announcements about other interview footage, register for free on GlowLiving.com and subscribe to the Glow Living YouTube channel linked from the site.
Over the course of your career, what are some of the valuable lessons you have learned?
There are too many lessons to share in this article, so I’ll leave you with two that I think are relevant for your audience:
1. When you wonder if what you have to share is “good enough” or “original enough,” keep in mind that diversity adds richness to life, which is why the world needs you and your unique contribution.
2. Stay true to yourself, and give others a chance to align to your authenticity. If you project something other than who you are, they will align to a false image. Having people align to your true nature is what brings fulfillment and joy.
Connect with Chandra Lynn online:
COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Robert Downs Photography