Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Cheryl Hodge: Chasing the Muse

Kathy Sanborn By

Sign in to view read count
As much as I love playing live, I relish studio work even more. In taking stock of my musician friends I realized that there were some people I still really needed to record with: the beautiful, soulful jazz vocalist Dee Daniels, jazz guitar god John Stowell, bass great Stuart Hamm (formerly with Steve Via & Satriani). Then there's one of my oldest friends, Jim Cox, currently on tour with James Taylor, and Pat Mastelotto (a former band mate, currently with King Crimson), and David Longoria, a master trumpet player. I have all the resources I could possibly want at my fingertips right now, including a great co-producer/guitarist (Brian Cunningham) and a fellow songwriter/brilliant sax man, Josh Cook, along with all my fave musicians in past endeavors (guitarist Cliff Maddix, bassman Dave Captain, drummer Charlie Doggett). I've been so, so blessed in this life. Every single person I approached was on board, in a major way, including my own son, Dylan Hodge, an extremely gifted bassist in his own right. The end result has been, in my opinion, a beautiful dream come true—and my only concept album.

AAJ: Now that you have created your musical masterpiece, what works best for you in promoting it: radio promotion, publicity, self-promotion—or all of the above?

CH: Really "all of the above." I begin with your standard CD Release Party. Then I go back over websites that have worked well in the past, in garnering recognition for my music: Reverbnation.com, NumberOneMusic.com, and my own websites: CherylHodge.com & JazzBoulevard.com. Also radioindy.com (they gave me a "Grindie" award a few years ago.) Then I hit all the deejays, and try to form as many business/friend relationships there as possible. Currently, I am my own publicist. That means that right now I am nearly going crazy by doing so much of my own promotion work. I'm about to hire someone to take over (company yet to be determined). Be forewarned. Double the price of what it takes to produce your album. Expect to put that much again into promotion. In the end, if you have a product that appeals to enough people, you will garner some rewards (and awards), which will lead you to bigger and better gigs. When I won the Best Jazz Song 2013 from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, that changed my life a bit. Some rooms which were formerly locked tight became open to me, and I began to see my name on bigger and better marquees.

AAJ: What do you feel are the main challenges you face right now as a jazz performer and recording artist?

CH: The greatest challenge for myself and many of my friends has been "how to sell your music." We're living in an age where nearly all of our music is attainable for free, or a penny a cut. Lack of gigs, funding, etc., is a huge challenge for all of us right now. I had roughly 43,750 downloads of one of my jazz cuts last December. That translated to $437.50, because each download was a penny. When you consider that the album cost something like 12K to make (a steal!), it becomes a bit disheartening. I push iTunes as much as possible. At 99 cents a cut, it's a great deal, and people are being supportive of the artist's work. In the 1950s, on up to the late 90s, most people averaged spending about ten dollars on recordings per month. You can see why most of us feel this particular challenge too overwhelming. We are a family, we musicians. We need to support each other, and urge our audiences to support musicians they enjoy.

However, I do this because I love it. LOVE your music. Practice your craft. You've got to keep playing, no matter what. Put one foot in front of the other, and don't get too preoccupied with an end result. The rewards are happening every time you sit down with your instrument, and every time you play with a great player or a great friend. Stay positive by playing, singing, writing—however you are connected to your art. Art is its own reward. Do whatever it takes to keep ahead of things monetarily: day jobs, night jobs, whatever. But stay true to your craft.

AAJ: Persistence does pay off, for sure. I have seen that in my own career as well. How is using social media working for you as a mode of promotion?


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Matthew Shell: Making Art with Substance In The Biz Matthew Shell: Making Art with Substance
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: April 2, 2017
Read Roberta Piket: Focusing on the Music In The Biz Roberta Piket: Focusing on the Music
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: January 6, 2017
Read Artist Roundtable: Where's the Money? In The Biz Artist Roundtable: Where's the Money?
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: December 7, 2016
Read David Longoria: Embracing Innovation In The Biz David Longoria: Embracing Innovation
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: November 9, 2016
Read Cheryl Hodge: Chasing the Muse In The Biz Cheryl Hodge: Chasing the Muse
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: October 15, 2016
Read Carol Albert: Going for the Finish Line In The Biz Carol Albert: Going for the Finish Line
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Roberta Piket: Focusing on the Music" In The Biz Roberta Piket: Focusing on the Music
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Matthew Shell: Making Art with Substance" In The Biz Matthew Shell: Making Art with Substance
by Kathy Sanborn
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "The Free Musics by Jack Wright" Book Reviews The Free Musics by Jack Wright
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: May 10, 2017
Read "Kurt Rosenwinkel: Caipirinhas and Constellations" Catching Up With Kurt Rosenwinkel: Caipirinhas and Constellations
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Thundercat at the Bluebird Theater" Live Reviews Thundercat at the Bluebird Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Friday Night at the Monterey Jazz Festival" In Pictures Friday Night at the Monterey Jazz Festival
by Dave Kaufman
Published: September 28, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!