How are Texas Sounds nominees selected?
Nominations for Texas Sounds are usually initiated by one of East Texas Performing Arts’ experienced Board of Directors members. We scour the web, listening to posted music from around the world. Most nominees are found on sites such as REVERBNATION, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Facebook. We qualify our selections by researching their websites, online reviews, and listening to all their available music online.
What criteria do you consider in making a nomination?
We look for musicians who perform Country music or a related genre (Blues, Bluegrass, Folk, etc.) or derivative thereof (Country Rock, Modern Country, Rockabilly, etc.). We look for music that we think American audiences will enjoy and for musicians who are famous in their own nation or who have the potential to become famous.
Can anyone else nominate a musician or band?
Musicians can ask to be reviewed for nomination. Any musician wanting to be reviewed should be reasonably certain that they can travel and participate for the duration of our event. We will follow up and look/listen to any musician who wants to be considered. We do not consider recommendations made by fans, friends, or families of musicians.
Submit an email message to Texas Sound’s producer or use Facebook Messenger.
What are the financial arrangements for musicians who participate?
All musicians perform only for the chance to win an award title and trophy. There is no monetary compensation for participating. Awards are custom wall hanging plaques that have little or no intrinsic monetary value. Musicians are responsible for all their own expenses including travel, lodging, and all associated expenses.
We have compiled questions that participating musicians have asked. The following may be helpful for nominees.
Who produces Texas Sounds?
Texas Sounds is an outgrowth of East Texas Performing Arts, Inc. (ETPA), a 501c3 nonprofit organization EastTexasPerformingArts.org. ETPA has produced live stage plays and musical concerts in Jefferson, Texas since 2011. The organization is entirely volunteer based. No one receives a salary, wage, honorarium, or stipend. Funds raised by Texas Sounds fund ETPA, productions and outreach programs such as classes in acting, public speaking, and expressive movement. Classes are offered for children, youth, and adults.
Can you please suggest the approximate cost for accommodation?
Price range for rooms in town is usually from $89 – $199 per night double occupancy. Lodging options are listed and detailed at Jefferson-Texas.com/lodging or Visitjeffersontexas.com/lodging
Texas Sounds is a 4-day event. Would we need to be in Jefferson the entire 4 days??
I encourage everyone to spend as much time in Jefferson as possible. I strongly suggest coming at least a day early and staying a day after the event. There is a lot to see and do in Jefferson and local residents enjoy socializing and entertaining our visiting musicians. Many of our performers arrange a tour around the South while they are here. Since almost any country music destination is within one day’s drive, you can move about as a tourist or perform in other cities during your time here.
You mention one performance of 30 – 45 minutes… are there any other opportunities to perform outside this slot?
Although there are several venues here and in surrounding towns in which to perform, these are primarily bars and small clubs. They pay very little ($75 – $200 for a solo performer). Most of our musicians try to prearrange gigs in some of the larger country music meccas, such as Austin, Memphis, or Nashville. This is not always easy. I can help a bit with the local gigs, and we really love to have you perform around town and in neighboring towns on dates before and after Texas Sounds weekend, but the only way to earn real money is to find a way to connect with venues in larger cities. I have tried to help our performers find gigs in other cities. I have failed miserably. You are pretty much on your own with this.
Do artists perform original music or covers or both?
This is entirely up to you. My preference is a mix, something familiar that the audience already loves and some original music to show who you really are as an artist.
We might require a band to back us (way too expensive to fly full band over!) – is there a cost for this?
Remarkably, some bands do arrive en masse! Where needed, we supply the band. If you need one person to fill in for a musician who cannot travel or an entire 4 piece band, we have you covered. You will communicate in advance with our band leader. He will consult with you to get the right people. You will send your set list, charts, and music to him and he will have it all worked out before you arrive. There will be one rehearsal and sound check session prior to your performance. We cannot help with any performances other than the Texas Sounds set.
How many prizes are going to be awarded and what are the prizes?
Prizes are trophies and titles, no cash, no items of monetary value. These are custom designed, Texas themed, impressive wall mount trophies. Our first year we gave ten awards. We had only 14 acts. Almost everyone got a trophy (it was our inaugural year, we needed to reward those who extended such blind trust and had traveled so far). This year we will give 8 awards (we expect 15 to 20 acts to compete).
You say that you can provide a backup band. What instruments are in your band? Is there a charge for this? What are the rates?
We provide a backup band, if needed, which is tailored to your sound and need. Any configuration from one to five instrumentalists and/or vocalists. There is no cost to you. Our band director has the final say on which musicians perform with you. You will make these arrangements in advance via email or Facebook message.
Are there any promoters or any opportunity for recording deals etc involved? Any industry deals etc?
We are not yet at this level. I keep reminding everyone that Texas Sounds is still new and still quite small. The most important benefit we have to offer is ongoing publicity and promotion via our online marketing network. Think of your potential Texas Sounds award as a fine wine, freshly bottled. It will gain value as it ages.
What is the age of the artists – sometimes here in NZ unless you are over 25 years you are not even considered!
Our first year we nominated two performers who were under 20 years old. Although one proved to be talented and really a pretty good kid, I was sorely reminded of why teenagers are so hard to live with. I half jokingly promised that no one under 35 would ever again be considered. In practice, we are looking for adults. I want people who are able to work with other professionals, not children who don’t know how to pick up their own candy wrappers. Age does not matter. In 2017 we will have musicians as young as 22 and some older than your parents.
Is there an opportunity to sell albums & merchandise?
Yes. Send your music and merchandise well ahead of the event (preferably 8 – 10 weeks ahead). If you try to bring merchandise into the country it will probably be confiscated by Customs officials at the port of entry. We provide a table to display your stuff. A volunteer will be in charge of the table so that you are free to enjoy the event. Your merchandise can be available for purchase at all times during the event.
Will we have to pay to attend other musicians’ performances?
All performers, their traveling companions, and entourages have full access to all four nights of music.
What destination airport do you suggest – I’m guessing a rental car would be required?
Most fly into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) or Houston INternational (IAH). This can be your port of entry or final destination after a flight change. Some performers have found affordable flights that got them all the way to Shreveport, LA (SHV). Shreveport is only 45 minutes from Jefferson. DFW is 3+ hours away from us. Houston is 4+ hours. In all cases, you will need a rental car.
Visas are expensive. Can you help?
We have learned that most nations require a sizable payment for a travel visa for paid performances. That is one of many reasons we don’t pay our performers. Your official invitation will state that you are coming to participate in a contest, for no pay. You are donating your travel and performance to our nonprof it organization for the purpose of benefiting performing arts in Texas. This invitation usually eliminates the cost of a work visa. Bring your printed invitation letter with you. It can help prevent real troubles at your post of entry.If you do secure additional gigs for pay, you may work that out with your government in any way you wish.
Cost for this trip will be high. How do bands afford to come to Texas Sounds?
We strongly suggest that you make this a BIG event. One way to make a big publicity splash is to promote this as a great international honor. You can cure financial worries with the same effort. Launch a fundraising campaign for trip expenses. You will find that your fans and supporters will buy into the idea of sending you off to the American South to bring home a Texas award. Not only will they support you financially, they will do so with such enthusiasm that they become lifelong supporters. Donors feel that they are partially responsible for your success and they will love you forever. Fundraising concerts, merchandise auctions, and silent auctions for private concerts are all viable fundraisers. Even your local government or performing arts association might support your trip. One way to raise funds and market your own celebrity is crowdfunding through sites such as kickstarter.com, buyaband.com, gofundme.com, or any of dozens of others. You will be amazed at how much such campaigns can boost your popularity. If you decide to do a crowdfunding campaign, give me all the information. I will share it with my email list and social media contacts.
It is difficult to travel with instruments. What can you provide?
We can provide guitar amps, bass kit, standup double bass, electric bass, and drums. We provide some cymbals, but many bands prefer to bring their own brass.
NOTE: we are producing a commemorative event t-shirt. In order to have your name printed on the shirt, we need your confirmation early. Travel confirmation (flight numbers, lodging reservations, or other) by September 15, 2017.