Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Carolyn Lee Jones. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Carolyn Lee, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to hear about when you first realized that you wanted to pursue a creative path professionally.
I’ve always been involved with and grown up with music and musicians. My mother was a pianist/accompanist and my father sang tenor. Many of my friends were also involved with music. During my formative years I was in school show choirs or small vocal groups but, I also really loved retail! In actuality, retailing had many creative opportunities. For 25+ years I enjoyed a successful first career as a Buyer for luxury stores traveling the world. This career also allowed me to enjoy all of the musical things the world has to offer. I incorporated music in to much of what I was responsible for as a Buyer.
I wondered what would a second career in music be like!
Carolyn Lee, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
In 2000 I decided no more Karaoke and threw myself a “milestone” birthday party at a downtown Dallas nightclub. I hired 6 musicians and sang with a 6 pc band for the first time. When I heard the applause from my 80 friends and family the hook was set. My pianist and band leader Julie Bonk ( Nora Jones’ high school piano teacher ) had the foresight to record the evening. In the front of my mind now I thought about what a second career in music might look like and started studying in earnest more theory and piano.
I continued with my wonderful retail career for 8 more years and had opportunities to perform in small cabaret -jazz rooms in NYC after work hours! My friends and business associates came and supported me in my extra curricular musical endeavors. It was great fun! I made the full time leap to music in October 2008 and haven’t looked back! I’ve recorded and nationally released five studio albums on my independent label Catn’round sound. In 2017 was honored as the Sammons Center for the Arts Cabaret Artist of the Year.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
Because I had a marketing background from being in retail, I understood the importance of social media branding and building an on-line audience.
Being congruent in all aspects of building your personal brand or look is the most important factor. Good photography that expresses you is key. Communicating often and well with your fan base is critical.
I started with an email system and a web site, added Facebook personal and music pages, a you tube channel, Instagram page, twitter page and linked in page. All of my media is consistent in it’s look and messaging. When I send emails they post to every page. My web site is home base and all of the various pages can be accessed from and shared to from my web site. I try to include both personal things as well as music related topics in my posts. The on line market is moving very fast and is a lot to keep up with and still have time for the MUSIC itself as an independent artist. When I release a full album I hire a PR person!
The general audience for me in social media is more organically driven vs. purchasing advertising. However, when I release an album social media is saturated for 3-6 weeks with various posts and buy offers.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
Many people don’t realize how much work and effort goes in to being a professional vocalist-musician-bandleader-artist. It doesn’t just happen! It takes hours , months and years of learning the craft so that it looks effortless to the audience. This process is no different than learning how to be proficient in any profession. Practice-trial and error lead to success.
- Website: https://www.carolynleejones.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carolynleejones/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolynleejonesmusic/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolynleejones/
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/carolynleejones/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/carolynleejones
- Other: Apple Music –https://music.apple.com/us/artist/carolyn-lee-jones/300129947 Pandora –https://www.pandora.com/artist/carolyn-lee-jones-holiday/white-christmas-single/ALfkwXKd374pjpV Spotify-https://open.spotify.com/artist/0Su5TpagvY9lz56nKKwXpJ?si=w1D07pWbS2aBrSiE_xq-rQ
Photography by – Candice White, Nicolette Mollet, Bob Hadsell