Gibson Amplifier | Summer 1998

The Amplifier Magazine Article:
The Art of Self Promotion by Katoorah Jayne

This column is dedicated to those artists, musicians, self-created individuals who are in search of ways to promote, express, convey and carry their self-made works to various listening audiences. All of which may include radio, record and publishing companies as well as live venues, but reach beyond the cinder blocks of a musty-filled single-car garage, grandma’s lasagna-painted kitchen, steamy, reverberating showers or tiny bedroom jam sessions.

Imagine yourself if you will, at a concert, nightclub or party. You are there for several reasons, but the most important one is to meet people, establish new contacts and further your career in the music industry. Because a first impression is so vital and sometimes the only one you get to make, you must make a lasting one. This can be difficult to do at the previously mentioned venues, as they are usually buzzing with people, loud music and plenty of distractions.

You shake hands as you try to raise your voice enough to wedge it through the deluge of sound, and impart your business card. You do have a business card, right? After this brief exchange you are hoping to have made an indelible mark on the mind of the contact you just established. Maybe they will retain your fleeting words, maybe they won’t. Perhaps your business card, CD or cassette will be discarded along with the others that have been accumulating dust on a bureau at home. How then, can you stand out and be remembered, even talked about?

Meet Mel Brown, a vibrant, self-promoting bassist who now resides in Pasadena, CA. His business card: a CD-ROM, i.e. The Mel Brown Profile. This interactive business card (the CD itself) is adorned with a colorful caricature of Mel’s face. The CD comes with full installation instructions for Mac or PC along with the program Quicktime ® so that you can view the video segment. Mel feels that this CD-ROM can “replace introductions and promotional materials with a brief multi-media presentation.” It can act as a bio, demo tape, interview and even an audition in the event of geographical distance.

The Main page of this interactive “autobiography” has five sections: video, tunes, impressions, medley, and endorsements. Before that menu appears, however, you first see a computer-generated picture of an old black-and-gold rotary telephone centered on a light wood grain table with tapestry wallpaper accenting the background. Suddenly, the handset is rocking as you hear the ring of the phone. An answering machine kicks on and the caricature of Mel appears, lips moving, “Pa-pow, pow Mel Brown is not in the house, but I know who you be, ’cause I got the caller I.D.” I recognize it as the outgoing message on his home answering machine. It is a playful innovative arrangement of words that draw you in to the world of Mel Brown.

You are then taken to the main menu where you can go to the different sections.

1.Video — View Mel on the Arsineo Hall show, Turner Movie Classics and other commercials.

2. Tunes — Listen to songs he’s written and played bass on.

3. Impressions — Listen to other musician’s opinions about working with Mel, as you see a picture of them (similar to references on a resume).

4. Medley — See pictures of albums he has played on, along with several cuts from each one.

5. Endorsements–ee the logos and names of the endorsements he has obtained: Tobias Bass, Eden Electronics and Dean Markley.

Mel Brown has taken his talents and accomplishments and put them all on a CD-ROM. In less than ten minutes you can find out almost everything you need to know about this incredibly talented bassist, and decide whether or not to hire or give him an audition. Does it work? Is it successful? After relocating to Pasadena from Denver only two months ago, he has landed a permanent position with Gladys Knight. He conveys that his newly acquired bassist position was a direct result of the CD-ROM.

During his first few weeks in California he mailed out 130 discs. He got back 90 replies. One of them put him in touch with Gladys Knight’s musical director. The director was in Las Vegas at the time. He had a laptop computer. That was all Mel needed to know. He sent the CD-ROM to Vegas. The only thing the musical director needed to know: “Can you read music?” The audition ensued a week later. It lasted only 15 minutes. He got the job. Not only has he found a way to thoroughly self promote, but he has also potentially carved out another means to make a living.

Mel is now in the process of applying for a patent and has plans to bring this concept to the forefront of the music industry. He also envisions this as a means of promotion for the acting and modeling industries as well. This is an amazing and inventive tool to self promote, if you have the talent to back it up, you could be unstoppable. In a time where computers are becoming as common as televisions, a CD-ROM business card could eventually be a part of every kind of business.

Because of the outstanding patent application, his CD-ROM is not yet available, but will eventually make its way onto the web sites of the companies who endorse Mel. If you have any questions about this article or have suggestions or comments, please email them to:

Katoorah Jayne is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter who has written and produced 5 CDs, toured nationally with the band Western Vogue, and opened for The Rembrandts, The Bodeans, Joe Walsh, Los Lobos, The Texas Tornadoes, Holly Dunn, Leon Russel and James Cotton, to mention a few. Her music has appeared on several compilation discs alongside Shawn Colvin, Tori Amos, Julian Lennon, Leftover Salmon, Matthew Sweet, The Indigo Girls and others. Check out her website at