Meet Chris Fox with Texas Music Pickers

June 10, 2018 3:20 PM | Deleted user

The Texas Country Music Association proudly partners with others who also have a genuine desire to support and educate Texas artists; supporters such as Chris Fox with Texas Music Pickers.

Chris Fox, Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers, describes himself as a Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and an avid Houston sports fan. While his professional background is in Business Administration and Marketing, Fox's innate love of music, specifically Texas music, inspires him to help artists at all levels gain industry knowledge, tools for honing their craft and assistance in increasing awareness of their music.

He has been in the Music scene in unofficial capacities for over a decade, but he made it official about four years ago with the launch of Texas Music Pickers. What began with a website and a desire to help Texas artists succeed has now turned into an ever-growing and highly respected organization. Texas Country, Americana and Red Dirt music is currently the primary focus of the organization, and while much of their activity has been in Texas as of late, they see a dramatic uptick in popularity of Texas music in other states--and even other countries.

One way they help artists gain exposure and hone their crafts is with their annual songwriter competition. Now in its fourth year, their songwriter competition is even more exciting and more beneficial for the artists than ever before. They've been able to secure an incredible prize pack for the winner. Artists get a shot at winning studio time from one of the top studios in Texas, radio promotion from an accomplished radio promoter, songwriting sessions with award-winning songwriters and more. They’ll also get the opportunity to perform in front of some of the scene’s top venue/festival talent buyers, booking agents, radio personnel, and more! Their competition is unique in that it focuses on multiple aspects of an artist's capabilities: songwriting, vocal ability, and musical performance. Note: Songwriters of all ages are encouraged to enter.

A live competition is also part of the contest, which will incorporate showmanship as part of the judging. Artists will bring additional original music to perform in front of a live audience. The deadline to enter is TODAY, June 10. Artists contribute a nominal $20 to enter. Each artist will gain valuable exposure to top-level industry professionals; it is well worth it for songwriters to enter. Past competitions have resulted in artists being able to book gigs with venues that were previously unaware of that artist. This contest is sure to showcase how spectacular Texas talent is.

Fox remarks that Texas music is so unique because its infrastructure is based around the music rather than a gatekeeper. It's authentic and real. It provides artists with an opportunity to pave their own career path and grow their fan base organically and genuinely.

When asked his thoughts on what he sees as a common thing that trips up or stunts the growth of newer artists, he replied that often he sees newer artists limit themselves by thinking they can't be successful if they don't have a big-time manager or the backing of a label. While having that sort of official support can undoubtedly be advantageous, Fox notes that because of how well Texas artists can connect with their audiences and with professionals within the industry, they can certainly find immense success by pounding the pavement with their music and cutting their path themselves. Fox points out that growing your career this way is actually very beneficial in that the artist can retain more control over their music and can keep more of the profits. He adds that social media has also dramatically changed the way artists can find success. Artists would be remiss in neglecting social media as an outreach tool as it offers another avenue for grassroots support and consistent engagement with an artist's fans.

Fox advises that artists wait until they simply cannot keep up with the logistics of their career before the seek assistance that would require them to share a portion of their revenue. He also says that artists should try to keep costs down as much as possible and to remember that it's a long journey that requires patience and tenacity. Even "overnight successes" have spent years growing their careers.

Texas Music Pickers also has their own playlist on Spotify where they track songs that have either been submitted to them, that they've discovered on their own or that have made it on to various Texas radio charts. They focus on songs that are actively promoted as singles and have a Texas-based primary listening audience. Click here for more information on how to submit your songs to them.

Fox said they also want to be informed about what artists have in their pipelines so they can help spread the word about upcoming gigs, events, exciting news...and attend as many events as possible. While they do track and follow numerous artists via social media, BandsinTown and by word of mouth, the best way to let them know about something is to email them. While they might not be able to reply to your message, there's about a 90% chance that they have indeed seen it if you email them. The commonly abused tactic of tagging dozens of people/companies in a post isn't the best way to ensure that they see your news. They attend as many events as they can all across Texas, and they've even begun to add out-of-state events to their calendars.  "We follow the music [Texas music] rather than geographical boundaries," Fox adds, "Texas music is experiencing some major growth." At the time when we spoke, he was currently working on a blog piece about the increased viability of being a musician. Be on the lookout for that.

I asked him his thoughts about the commonly discussed notion that women are less likely to have a viable career in Country music. "If anybody says it's not tougher [for women], especially in the Texas Red Dirt scene, then they're not grasping the full picture...But the tide is starting to turn," he stated. "There is a lot of potential [such as Bri Bagwell, Sunny Sweeney & Kaitlin Butts] that is starting to come to fruition and pave the way and knock down the gender barriers that are currently in place."

Fox offered a crucial piece of advice for female artists. "Don't be afraid to spread the message." He revealed that of all the submissions and correspondence they receive that 90% of it comes from male artists. So, when they sit down to compile their chart rankings, playlists, and coverage schedules, they're most likely going to result in male-dominated outcomes. He suggested that it could potentially not be the case if more women were more proactive about spreading the word about their music. He expressed that right now is an exciting time to be a female Texas artist and that the landscape of Texas music will most likely be very different in five to ten years.

It's an exciting time for Texas indeed. Texas' reach is greatly expanding, and Texas artists are carving new paths to success. Fox and the rest of the Texas Music Pickers look forward to sharing and celebrating Texas' increased influence on the world. The Texas Country Music Association is proud to partner with them in supporting Texas artists.

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