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How Raye Zaragoza Makes a Living as a DIY Artist (Hint: Not Streaming)

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Raye Zaragoza on the New Music Business Podcast, thumbnail saying "Patreon as a record label?"

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Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.
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How Raye Zaragoza Makes a Living as a DIY Artist (Hint: Not Streaming)

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This week, Ari is joined by Raye Zaragoza, a DIY artist who is making waves with her new album, writing for Netflix shows, and has been recently cast as Tiger Lily in the Peter Pan National Tour.

0:00 – Welcome
07:20 – Raye casted a Tiger Lily in the Broadway tour of Peter Pan
17:01 – Raye’s new album and collaborating
26:23 – Deeply personal songwriting and songwriting as therapy
36:37 – Writing for sync licensing
41:16 – The business side of writing for a Netflix show
51:25 – Self releasing as an artist and running her own indie record label
56:33 – How Raye uses Patreon like a record label

Edited and mixed by Mikey Evans
Music by Brassroots District
Produced by the team at Ari’s Take

Transcription:

Raye Zaragoza
What if I like started my own record label, powered by my fans, I’ve made like well into six figures on Patreon since I started I self released under rubble of records, but also I use my patrons as this kind of they act as like my label reps as I like to say, because I literally post all of the songs for that I’m considering for my records on Patreon. And they vote on which songs they think should go on the record. It’s really fun to get to not not only crowdfund but also crowdsource their opinions and treat them like my team.

Ari Herstand
What’s going on? Welcome to the new music business. I’m your host, Ari Herstand, author of How to Make It in the New Music Business, The book. Third edition is out now everywhere in hardcover and audiobook or ebook or however you consume books, you can find how to make it in the new music business on mat. Today, my guest is Ray Zaragoza. She is an incredibly talented indie, DIY singer, songwriter, artist who just released her new album, hold that spirit, it’s a great record, you should check it out. The record all the collaborators on it actually, all the songwriters, and producers are all women. We talk about that a little bit and kind of how that came to be.

She is very successful on Patreon, she has made over six figures on Patreon with just 150 patrons. And we talked about how she did that. And how that does. She’s been very successful on sync, she’s had a bunch of sync, she has a sync agent, she’s repped by one of the best thing agencies out there. And she’s gotten a lot of success there. And we talk about how she writes for sync, what that even means to write for sync, what co writing sessions are like and how, you know, writing to briefs and all that. So, you know, I’ve had a lot of people on the show from the other side of law of sync where music supervisors and sync agents and if you’re interested in sync, go listen to those episodes, because we’ve had so many people in sync from from Lindsey Wolfington, Jen Malone, Madonna Wade, read these these music supervisor superstars, to various sync agencies. And now an artist who does really well in writing for sync. She’s also a composer. Well, she’s a she she was writing music, or as written music for Netflix, this show spirit Rangers. And she’s, I guess, officially credited as the composer on that. But as she’ll talk about, she writes songs for this animated kids show. And we talk about the business behind that and how she goes about writing for the for the show, and how she gets credit and how the royalties work, how the money works, all of that stuff. Of course, this is the new music business podcast. So we dig into all of that, but raising artists who is really embodies the DIY ethos, and spirit, she makes a good living as an indie musician, doing a lot of the things, you know, she’s going on a headlining tour this fall, and you should definitely see her she’s doing a US headlining tour. You know, she’s a DIY er, and she, you know, writes for sinking, and she has all these various buckets of how she makes it work. And so, if you’re an artist or a manager out there, and you’re kind of like, well, how are people making it work these days? You know, this is an episode to listen to. And like, she’ll tell you, her streaming numbers are very modest. And they are not numbers that you would normally think of when you see them of an artist who is making a very good living in music as an original performing contemporary artist, but she’s making it work and making it work really well. So you know, don’t get blinded by the vanity metrics, and really focus on what is most important in your career. And we talked about that on this episode. And that is cultivating a diehard strong audience fanbase that’s going to stick with you for life, and also just making a living doing what you love. And we talk all about that and Ray fully embodies that. You can find Ray Zaragoza. That’s our a YEZARAGOZ a ray is Eric goes on all the socials. Go follow her on all the socials find her on however you listen to music, her new album is called hold that spirit. It’s a great record. Go listen to that album. You can find all of us that make the show happen at our ease. Take on Instagram and Tiktok and Twitter and threads and all the spots. You can find me at Ari her stand on Instagram and Twitter and maybe threads still, I don’t know. Pause the show right now. Give us a five star review on Spotify and Apple podcasts. Give us a thumbs up on YouTube hit that follow button hit that subscribe button. However you’re listening do this right now. Just pause right now hit the follow hit the subscribe if you want to get more episodes like this in your feed, that really helps. But most importantly, go to Arby’s take.com get on the email list. That is you’re gonna get the most up to date information. You know, we can’t live and die by the social media platforms or the streaming platforms, any of that stuff. But if you want to stay in touch, if you want helpful information and tips in your inbox about the new music business, go to Rs take.com, sign up on the email list. And that’s how we’re going to stay in touch. Email is still tried and true after all these years. All right, well, let’s kick into the show. Raye Zaragoza, welcome to the show

Raye Zaragoza
Thank you for having me. What an honor like the artists and this is so exciting.

Ari Herstand
That I’m super excited. It’s funny, you know, last time I saw you was a few weeks ago walking the red carpet at the lame is I think it was the opening night at the Pantages and right opening night. Yeah. And I didn’t think too much of it. I’m just like, oh, you know, she’s got an album coming out. So like her publicist is like hooking it up. And like, this makes sense. And everything. And I like from my vantage point, I like snap a video. I’m like, Oh, that’s cool. Right. You know, I get it. But then you announced like a few days later that you were cast as Tigerlily in the national Broadway tour of Peter Pan, which then I connected the dots like oh, it all makes sense now. Yeah. So first off congrats on that. That’s like a that’s like my dream. I’m a huge musical theater. As you could probably do it. I’m such a theater kid. So like, that’s, I was losing my shed. So excited. So happy for you. Congratulations.

Raye Zaragoza
I’m like, so excited. Yeah.

Ari Herstand
So what’s it? Like? I guess? I mean, I have so many questions about it. We could spend the entire time talking about it, which we’re not because you’re here to talk about your new album, which is amazing. I want to get into that and all of that, and the tour and all the stuff you’re here to promote. But my musical theater, kid inside of me needs to ask just a few questions. So have you start I know you’ve done the promo for it, because I’ve seen the photos and the press releases and the playbill, article and everything but like, Have you started rehearsing it all? Or what’s the process? Like right now?

Raye Zaragoza
Yeah, so right now, it’s like crazy, cuz I’m kind of like straddling both Peter Pan, and then the album promotional tour. Also, if you hear anything, my dog, she’s just like going crazy right next to me. But um, she’s having a boss like in her playpen. So yeah, so basically, like I’m doing both things like simultaneously I was in New York a couple weeks ago for the for a developmental workshop for Peter Pan. And then I’m going back to New York in a couple of weeks for choreography stuff. But we like officially start rehearsal in October or the end of October, beginning of November. And I literally my headline tour goes from I leave in two weeks, and then I’m doing that for like five weeks. And then I’ve one week off. And then I start like hardcore six days a week rehearsals for Peter Pan. So it’s just like, oh my gosh, craziness. But like, I I don’t feel stressed. I’m like, so excited about all of it. I think like, for me, you know, I grew up in New York City. My dad was on Broadway when I was a kid I grew up doing off Broadway and, and regional theater when I was like eight years old until I was a teenager. So like, I’ve always done theater, and then I kind of stopped doing theater to just focus on music. So now I’m getting back into it. But theater feels so much like home, and I already feel this, like weight off my shoulders that for a year, I get someone who’s gonna tell me where to be, tell me what to do. Tell me what to say. And, you know, and your listeners know, as an independent artists, there’s so much agency involved, there’s so much you have to be your own boss at every hour of every day. So it’s kind of exciting to get to step into a role for a year or so we’ll see how long I’m doing the show. And also to be a part of such an iconic character in a new and re imagined way. That’s not going to be racist anymore. I’m not going to be super stereotypical anymore. And I’m excited about that responsibility to get to recreate that with the playwright and the director. So it’s all very exciting. But yeah, a lot going on.

Ari Herstand
Wait, so tell me about this new Peter Pan. Is this thick? I guess I’m not super familiar with this version. Is this and like you said, reimagined? Is this like a brand new musical that has been rewritten? You said with the playwright and the director. So tell me a little bit about how was it not racist? Yeah. Yeah, so

Raye Zaragoza
I mean, first of all, like everyone’s gonna have to see it because there’s a lot of stuff that we’re still developing right now. But um, And basically this is the musical The like Broadway hit musical Peter Pan that Cathy Rigby did, like we are doing that show. But there have been a lot of modifications and change and additional book written by Larissa Fast Horse, who is an amazing indigenous playwright who has a show on Broadway right now the Thanksgiving play that I went to go see, it was amazing. And I actually did her very first musical ever when it was developing at Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles. And I was 14. And so to get to come full circle and be a part of like her biggest musical yet is like, really exciting. So yeah, Larissa pastores has done additional book has pretty much with the, you know, the estate has granted her the responsibility and honor of getting to, you know, get to completely rewrite the parts of the musical that she wants to and the parts that need changing. And, you know, I am not allowed to say like so much about what’s different, because we want to leave that to everyone when they get to see it. But Tigerlily in the original was this like silent, daughter of the chief who like, hardly has any lines. And then she has like this one very racist song, and it’s different in the movie, but in the, in the musical, it’s like this horrible, horribly stereotypical song. So I can say that that is gone. And there’s a whole new song and Tigerlily is a much bigger character, a much larger part of the story arc and of, you know, taking cook down, and she’s a bigger part of everything. And so it’s really exciting, cool to do that. Because also, this character is so beloved. And also I’m excited about the changes. And now Neverland represents not only like Native American people, but also represents indigenous, extinct indigenous tribes from all over the world, and why a member of every different tribe went to Neverland to preserve their culture. So it’s really exciting because we’re not only Yeah, we’re not like his in the original Tigerlily. And her tribe was like one fictional tribe, but now you have the the Indians, the indigenous people of Neverland represent many different tribes that are extinct from around the world. So it’s really exciting, because we’re getting to cover so much ground of very different people. And so I’m just one of those people. And so yeah, it’s really it’s really cool.

Ari Herstand
That’s awesome. And I’m sure it’s it. Well, I’m curious, like, as an indigenous person, or I believe you’re from correct my pronunciation XML. Oh, Tom,

Raye Zaragoza
how do you have a sense? I’m also Mexican. Thank you. Asian American. Yep.

Ari Herstand
Right, right. So did it like did? Did Larissa seek you out for this? Did you audition? How did this

Raye Zaragoza
tie auditioned? I was I did the whole audition process, which was wild and so much fun. And I definitely the casting director, Duncan, who was so amazing and helped me to the whole process knew I was really nervous, because I haven’t been a part of an audition process like this since I was a kid, literally, since I started doing music at a tune. So I was like, I don’t know about this. Yeah. So yeah. Like I was on tour in a hotel room. And I made an audition tape. And you know, usually when you do audition tapes, like you need to have a really nice backdrop and other lighting these look good. And but I was in this like horribly dim lit, like lit like, hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, about to open for

Ari Herstand
my hometown.

Raye Zaragoza
For adults array that night. I hadn’t slept the night before. And I had to get the audition tape in that day. And so that’s how I did my first audition. And then I had to fly to New York for two callbacks. And then I looked at so yeah, I definitely was on their radar, because I’ve worked with Larissa before. But um, it was really cool to get to do the whole thing

Ari Herstand
now for like 15 years. Yeah, for like 15 years,

Raye Zaragoza
since then. But the coolest part was getting to be a part of a dance call because that was so scary. And I told them I was like, look like, I haven’t really danced like this and like 10 years, and they’re like, You’re gonna be fine. It’s get in there come to New York and midtown when the big studio and we’re gonna have you do a dance call with all these other ensemble dancers who went to school for it and had been dancing for 10 years, five days a week. And I’m like, okay, great. Here we go. And so I did the dance call and it was like, really fun. And like it was this pirate dance. So it was a blast. But yeah, I was super nervous. But it’s also really fun like the theater kid inside of me who got to sing like I sing a song from Hades town. And I think that I sing one of my songs but it was fun to get to sing a musical theater song and like get to it scratched that itch of musical theater again.

Ari Herstand
So cool. Oh, I love to hear that they’ve they’ve updated it. And I mean, just from looking at the playbill announcement or the promo photo that’s gone everywhere. I mean, Tiger Lee’s one of the leads, one of the four leads, I guess, is as what the image looks like. So that’s, that’s super cool. Yeah, I, not many people know this, some people do. But similarly, when I came out to LA, I started screen acting a little bit like I grew up doing theater similarly, and then I, like fell into acting and like, felt completely out of my element, since I hadn’t done anything since theater or whatever, but like, started doing like, a bunch of different like TV shows and everything like that. And totally, I mean, so out of the element, but so much fun. And you’re right, it’s like, it’s so even though it’s all under the entertainment industry umbrella. It’s so dramatically different running an independent music career than anything else in in the entertainment world, especially a theater or TV, film, all that stuff where they literally like, yes, they tell you where to be what to say, what time to show up, stay in your trailer, I’m gonna come get you time for lunch that you know, it’s like night and day where it’s just like, yeah, so I mean, but you’re like, you embody kind of this DIY indie musician, essence and spirit and energy and everything that I mean like you’ve really established and built up such an incredible career for yourself. And with this the your new album, hold that spirit. Like I want to, I want to talk about that. And and then kind of work our way backwards a little bit on just kind of how you you came you got here. But something that really kind of took me Well, first listening to it. Brilliant record. Beautiful. I love it. The production incredible songwriting is great. Yeah, lyrically, it’s really strong. And it’s like authentically you, but like really big and enhance production, but then you strip it down. It’s really cool. And I really resonated and what was what was interesting. So, track number one, Joy revolution. I’m listening to it. I got my good good headphones on. And I’m listening to it. I’m like, damn, this production sounds like a G this sounds like Adrian Gonzalez. Like literally, like first I’m not shitting you. And because I’m like, I like I’m a big rescues fan. And I’ve like known Adrienne for years. And like I I played a few shows with the rescues back in the day. And like, I’m listening. I know all of her stuff. And, you know, I’ve just like, you know, and so I’m listening to him like, Man, this really sounds like a G production. And sure enough, he he produced it. That’s yeah.

Raye Zaragoza
Three of the songs on the record. And she is amazing. And also doing stuff with musical theater. And so yeah, she’s Oh, no shit. Yeah, she’s amazing. Love her.

Ari Herstand
Yeah, so well. So I read and I noticing on the credits, all your collaborators on the record, were women. Is that correct?

Raye Zaragoza
Yeah, the record was made entirely by women, all the CO writers, producers, engineers, mastering engineering, and artwork, pretty pretty much everything. Yeah.

Ari Herstand
So did that just happen? Because those who are your current collaborators, and at the end of the day, you’re like, oh, wow, that’s interesting, or Was that intentional? From the get go? It was

Raye Zaragoza
a little bit of both. But initially, it was an accident. And then it became intentional. Once I realized what was happening. I was like, Let’s lean into this. But a lot of the collaborators on this record were people that my sync agents linked me up with to write for sync, and then I secret rabbit road. Yeah. And so that’s how I met Danna Schultz. That’s how I met Haley McLean. And all these amazing women. And I don’t know, I just I just these are my favorite. When I signed with secret Road in 2022 2021. And 21. I, they set me up on like, tons of rights. And then they just like ended up being my favorites. And then I ended up riding with them again. And I was like, Oh, this is funny. A lot of my favorite writers I’m writing with are women. And then we wrote all the songs, many of which kind of started out as like, maybe this would be for sync. And then I realized about a year later, I was like, no, like, I’m writing a record here. And then I asked Lynn Grossman, you know, secret Road, who runs the road? And I was like, Is it weird? If I make an album with like many different producers, she’s like, That’s not weird, do it. And so I ended up having this like, overarching theme of, you know, songs all made by women and I have a few songs with collaborators that I made with folks who aren’t women and those were like There were only a few songs that I kind of had to be like, Well, that’ll be for another project. But so it was accidental. But then it became intentional. And then I sought out like a female mastering engineer and did that coded up really working out, especially that time in my life where I was really needing some sisterhood and some support from women because I was like going through a breakup, all these things. And so, yeah, it ended up being this kind of beautiful accident.

Ari Herstand
Yeah, and it makes a lot of sense that you’re with secret road and Lynn Grossman. For those who don’t know, she started. She initially was a music supervisor. Then she started managing Ingrid Michaelson. I think that was her only client as management for many years if not still and then she started secret road and Sega wrote is one of the powerhouse think agents out there. And that is that how you met he also

Raye Zaragoza
know I actually met through Connie Lim milk Milania and I have been friends for a while maybe like six years or so. I literally just like she was like one of those, like, people I was such a big fan of and I told my managers I was like, Can you like, figure out how I can get lunch with her? And then they like, figured it out? And then I got lunch with her. And yeah, we were like fast friends and have been like friends ever since.

Ari Herstand
I’m surprised you didn’t run into Connie milk over the years in the hotel, cafe singer songwriter, or whatnot. Because

Raye Zaragoza
No, and I was always so in and out the LA scene too, because living in New York and then back ashore. But, um, but yeah, so that’s how I met he was Connie had me sing on one of her songs for like, a thing that she put on Instagram. And then he was like, Who’s that? Let’s all write together. And then we all went from there. Yeah, yeah.

Ari Herstand
Yeah. And what I mean, this kind of it really works out. And it makes sense. Because both you know, Connie milk is her artists name mi L. CK. Is and is like a fellow activist. And she kind of broke out during the Women’s March. With her song I can’t keep quiet. In was that 2017? I guess it was right after it was a big Women’s March.

Raye Zaragoza
Yeah, January 2017. Right after this March. Yeah.

Ari Herstand
Right. So I mean, it made sense, because a lot of the themes on this record. I mean, there was it’s a very personal record, but it has a lot of universal themes, but also rooted in in kind of this individual kind of feminism, and just like self empowerment and just like, awareness. And is that like, was is that been something that is always was that similar? That I guess the same question, like Was that intentional going into this writing process? Or did kind of milk? I’m going to just call it? Did she kind of help? did? Did you guys talk about that? Did that come out in the writing sessions did you know I guess being surrounded by women through all of this, I’m curious to know, just like, what that experience was like in the writing rooms. And in the in the recording sessions with topics that you cover in this, I mean, you, you know, you, it’s in your bio and press release, and you wrote about it on your description on YouTube, but like you have a song acknowledging like an eating disorder, which is, you know, something that’s like, the themes in this are very, very personal and very times heavy. And so I’m just, I’m curious, like, you know, kind of getting so personal. And like you said, one coming out of the breakup of you were engaged. I mean, like, this is like, really intense, intense stuff. So tell me about the process of just like, actually deciding to write about that, and then actually deciding to release it. And now, I mean, you’re here talking about it, which I know is not fucking easy. Like, I did it. You know, I’m an artist, I released a really personal record, and then had to go talk about it for a while. So like, yeah, step me through that.

Raye Zaragoza
Yeah, I mean, I, I’m gonna be honest with you, I didn’t really realize what I was doing until it was done. I feel like I’ve been trying to explain this to people about, at least for me, when I’m in a room, writing a song with someone, it doesn’t really cross my mind that this song is going to be released or could be released. Or that’s not really what I’m thinking about. I’m just thinking about let’s write a good song. Like, that’s right. Like, what are we feeling? And I feel like, you know, all most of the songs on this record were written the last year like, what the year I was 29, the year that like all these things went down in my life that I got engaged and then we broke up and all these things and I realized that a lot of these writing sessions with these women were like, my safe place away from a lot of the drama going on in my life, and well especially the So Anna Schultz says she, she, she made a bulk of the song, she did four songs with me. And we would talk for like three and a half hours, and then start writing a song. And yeah, and I really feel like I kind of was using her as a therapist a little bit. But we got so deep into how we were feeling. And we connected on so many levels. That once we got to the stage of writing the song, it was so hyper personal. I mean, she helped me, right, sweetheart, and not a monster hold that spirit and garden, which I think are so personal, especially not a monster, talking about disordered eating something that Anna and I both experienced. And so I feel like getting so personal on this record, was really just the outcome of working with people like Anna like milk and ag and Belinda Huang and Hayley McLean, because I felt so comfortable with them. I consider all of them like very, very close friends. And so it was so easy to be so so raw and vulnerable with them and just write from that place. And then when we went through and picked all of the best songs for the record, it ended up being a lot of the more vulnerable songs. And then the oldest things happen in my life. And all of these things I was writing about kind of came true, like the things that I was struggling with came to fruition. And then it was time to package the record together. And then I listened to it down before I released it. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, this is really heavy, and really personal, and really uplifting and many parts, but also really triggering and intense. And I almost didn’t realize I was doing that until it was all packaged and done. And here’s the songs because when you’re in it, and when it’s your story, it almost doesn’t feel that deeper, intense because you experienced it. So it just feels like an everyday thing. And so I’ve really come to realize that in interviews and realizing Whoa, like, this is some intense stuff. And there have been a couple interviews earlier on. Before the album was out. Now that the album is out. I feel like all that. All that pain, all that intensity has been like released into the sky, and it’s out of my body. And I feel so good about it. But the interviews before the album came out where I was doing interviews for the album for when it had come out to like, these are interviews, we were pre recording or whatever. Those were really hard for me, right, those felt intense. And I felt like should an artist be this honest? Should we keep more to ourselves? Am I making a mistake by talking too much about my life? And all these things, all of which have come to the conclusion? No, I’m proud of everything I’ve put out. But I think yeah, those first interviews were definitely hard.

Ari Herstand
Yeah, and, you know, like you mentioned, songwriting is a form of therapy, it’s, it’s therapy for us, or even the the process of writing are in those sessions. And, but so is the act of recording and releasing. And I remember when, you know, I similarly I got out of a breakup of 11 years, years back, and I wrote, you know, my only way to cope after that 11 year breakup, was songwriting, was writing about it. And I spent the whole year just writing. And I wrote, like, 40 songs. And, you know, it was incredibly therapeutic for me. And then I wasn’t writing for anything, either. I was just like, I just needed to do this myself. I wasn’t planning on doing a record, it wasn’t writing with other, you know, I just needed to get it out. And then I was like, Alright, I want to kind of, you know, put some of these and record some of them and release them. And it was kind of like, I remember when I mentioned to my therapist that like, I’m I want to release this. And he’s, and he’s like, you know, yeah, releasing is very important and releasing the it’s a great word for what you’re doing. Exactly. Like we always say, Oh, we’re releasing a record. But it’s like you’re releasing so much more than just recordings just so much more than just a body of work or whatever like it when when it’s so personal like this. Releasing, you need to do that to complete it. It’s like It’s like the book end. It’s like, okay, now I can move on. And I was with, you know, my I was I was dating someone at the time who’s now my wife. Yeah. And you know, going through this process while she was around was like, you know, she was like, You need to release this like she couldn’t handle being around. Like, all right. Yeah, please. Because out so we can move forward. I feel

Raye Zaragoza
that like release, like the release of the music and the release of it. I mean, I’m this week is a wild week for me one the full moon tonight feel that and then to it will be a year since I got engaged this this week. So I’m feeling a lot of this. And then the album just came out. And so it’s like, yeah, it just, it’s wild to kind of feel all these things and have it be released. And it’s now out of my body. And now it’s in the record players of all of the people who enjoy my music, and I’ve gotten so much, you know, so many messages, and then people coming up to me after my shows being like, thank you. And they may be they a lot of people who are going through divorces or breakups, or had been in difficult situations and have come to me being like, your music is like the soundtrack to my healing right now. And that means so much and it makes all of those days where I felt a little uncomfortable of how much I was sharing feel worth it. Because I think that, for me, my favorite artists are when I listen to a song and I’m like, dang, they said that that’s so personal. And then that makes me feel so good and feel so seen. And so if I can do that for other people, like that’s literally my job. So

Ari Herstand
yeah, no, that’s great. And you know, it’s like, once something that, that you’re probably realizing, and every artist, eventually realizing that it’s initially startling, I would say at times is once you release music into the world, or I should say a song into the world, it’s no longer your song. It’s now everybody else’s, and you can’t really control the reaction or response. And so some people might interpret a song that’s the complete opposite way that you intended. But you know what, that that’s just Yeah, and it’s like, it’s I look at that with, you know, the Oliver Anthony, the dude who wrote the song of rich men north of Richmond, as you know, number one on the charts right now that they referenced that the Republican debate and like all the Conservatives are like, use it as like a rallying cry. And then he’s like, No, I wrote this about you. And it but it doesn’t matter. Like literally he’s like He said, he’s like, I can’t No, I wrote this about these assholes. What are they doing drawing it, you know? And it’s just, it’s funny, because I was like, thinking about like, like, yeah, it doesn’t. But it doesn’t matter. Because like people are going to interpret songs, how they want to interpret it, how it’s going to be meaningful to them how they resonate. And so like, you could write a song, meaning one thing and then the audience could interpret it something else. I don’t think it’s going to be as drastic and extreme and dramatic as that of what he’s going through right now. But at the same time, it’s like, getting these responses. I mean, have you have you gotten responses from people so far? Messages? Where it maybe the message was a little confusing, or me like, Oh, that’s not what I meant, or, or how do you? How do you respond?

Raye Zaragoza
Well, what’s funny is so bittersweet, which is one of the songs that I made with milk and ag was not originally written as a breakup song. That song was, we were kind of rewrote it from this place of like breaking up with a partner leaving a part of yourself behind that you wanted to leave behind. But, I mean, sure, everyone has. It looked at it as a breakup song. It’s absolutely a breakup song. But that’s not the way we wrote it or intended it. But we knew that it would be perceived as a breakup song. So we kind of like liked that it was this double meaning. But it’s funny because people listen to it. And they’re like, Wow, you must have written this, like the week or two after your breakup. And I’m like, No, I wrote that like a year earlier. And it wasn’t even I sent it to my former partner showing him the song when I wrote that song. It wasn’t a breakup song about him. But it’s funny because it now is definitely like the breakup anthem of my record and the song that people reference to most when they are saying like, Oh, this song, it’s helping me through my breakup. And so that’s funny because when we wrote it, we didn’t really write as a breakup song but it ended up on this breakup album, being one of the more obvious breakup songs so it is really funny the way things can just happen that way but also, I don’t know my I have a friend or a couple of friends who are always like making fun of me saying that like my songs tell the future and I like write something and then it happens. And so this breakup song I’m like, this was like one of my tell the future songs maybe?

Ari Herstand
Well, is your subconscious slipping in that divine? You know, No presents that that probably just kind of you hadn’t maybe necessarily acknowledged at the time. But it, but you knew it like subconsciously or the energies new or whatever you want to call it, you know, that was it. And I think like, you know, with songwriting, especially but all art, it’s like, you know, and Rick Rubin talks about this a lot is kind of like, you know, we are vessels Yes. And it’s not like just things flow through us. And it’s, it’s, you can’t really control a lot of it. And so it was there floating around and you kind of captured it unintentionally, and it flowed right through you. And that’s why things happen coming through, because it’s just like, it’s there already. And now, it’s just kind of flowing through you that well, I’m

Raye Zaragoza
all about that. I love that I I’ve always felt like, I don’t, I can’t take credit for writing my songs. Like, my ancestors are a part of it. Like, this is all just things that I’m they’re flowing through me. I’m like catching them and sending them off. And so um, yeah, I so resonate with that.

Ari Herstand
Yeah. So I’m curious about the CO writing process. So you mentioned earlier that you were writing a lot for sync. I, first off, explain what that means. Yeah, writing for sync. Yeah.

Raye Zaragoza
So writing for sync. It’s funny, because I don’t really know if I was doing it correctly, or doing writing for sync correctly. But I think whenever I’m really writing for sync, I think it’s we’re writing to a brief, so we get a brief. And then it’s like a specific TV show or specific scene, they’re looking for something that sounds like this is something that sounds like that. They want my vocal because my vocal maybes like Florence in the machine or something like that, or, and then we go based on the brief, and then we create something. But what’s fun is that I feel like with most of the writers I write with in the sink world, we’re very loosey goosey. So we’ll get a brief and then we ended up taking it on a whole different direction. And then send it to our reps. And they’re like, Okay, cool, we’ll put it in this other category. So I feel like for me as like a quote, unquote, like sync writer or sync artists, I’m, I don’t know, I feel like I very lucky. And since I’ve signed a secret Road, have had a lot of great luck with SYNC and have a lot of awesome syncs. But I don’t know if what when I’m in the room, if we’re really after that first 10 minutes of having a conversation about the brief or a brief if we even brought one into the room, if anything after that, is really focused on sync. And really, we’re just focusing on what we want to say, the thing that is very sync, we I will say, as we try to stay away from anything too specific, we try to stay away from profanities. We try to make it if it’s a love song, be a love song that could be interpreted as not a love song are different things. So we try to make things that are really, I don’t want to say generic or general, but like just open to interpretation, which is already how I like to write. Like, I like to write in a way, like you said, where this song could be interpreted in many different ways. I love that kind of writing. And that lends itself very well to sync.

Ari Herstand
Yeah, but

Raye Zaragoza
generally, when I’m in a room for sync, we just kind of write whatever we want. And then we send it to the people and see if they like

Ari Herstand
how quick are these turnarounds? Because if if it’s like a brief that comes in to Seeker road, and it’s like alright, it’s for this TV show or it’s this ad and they want like you said a song that sounds like Florence in the machine or whatever maybe it’s for this scene and we need it like this and female Vogue and what do they is it like typically a quick turnaround time to co wrote hit you up be like, hey, we need this in two days. Do you and Anna want to get together and write something and we’ll you know, he can producer or whatever, like set me through the process of just like how that actually

Raye Zaragoza
yeah, there’s a lot of quick turnarounds like that. And I will say that I’m not usually the person that is best for those quick turnaround things. Because one I talk a lot and two. I talk a lot so I must not usually home. But um but there are a lot of other like sync writers and producers who who mostly stay in town in their studios. So anyway, yes, like the other day I got, like, there was a vocal they wanted for a commercial and they were like we need this in 12 hours. And I was like, Oh great. I’m home. I’ll do it. I have my SN seven b i can do vocals real quick. And so it was a cover of I think it was actually Florence or was a cover of a cover Florence did but it was the Florence version. Okay, so sure. That or you know, I’ve done you know, there was a brief once where they wanted a cover of some other song and we had like three days it’s usually Very quick. I love a quick turnaround. I love a deadline. Deadlines are like my favorite thing. The other thing I was doing during the pandemic for two years was I was writing the music for a Netflix animated series called Spirit Rangers. And that was very quick turnarounds to which was amazing, because at that time in my life, I wasn’t touring as none of us really were. So you know, I would get the scripts, and then they would want an acoustic pass of the song within 48 to 72 hours. And then I would do that and then once they prove the acoustic version, then I would have it produced out. And then that would be another like 72 hours and like, boom, boom, boom, what very fast.

Ari Herstand
Well, I Okay, I want to touch on that, because So, first off, how’d you get that gig to write music for spirit

Raye Zaragoza
guides. And this was crazy. So my next door neighbor in North Hollywood, like eight years ago, seven years ago. He is one of the writers on spear Rangers. So he got me in the room to be to do a composer test. And similarly, it’s a Peter Pan, it was very like fish out of water feeling for me doing a composer test. I’d never ever done anything like that. I’d written one song for Wally Khazanah kids show with two other co writers like when I was like 19, and they ended up buying it. And I was like, really fun. And I’d never done anything else and kids music since. But I use that experience with like, just my own take on this thing. Because this they wanted the story. Zero Rangers is about an indigenous family that lives in a national park. And I’ve really connected with the story. So it felt very easy to do this composer test and to write a song based on the script. I felt like I was writing for me and my grandma, it was just a very natural thing for me. And I think that is what resonated with them. And they ended up giving me the job. And I was one of two composing teams for the first season. And then the second season, they end up giving me the whole show, which was super fun. And yeah, it

Ari Herstand
was super easy. What’s a composer test?

Raye Zaragoza
A composer test is literally like writing to a brief they gave, they gave us three scripts, and then had me choose one. And then when you’re writing for a TV show, you know, the script for a 30 minute or 20 minute kids show is like 17 pages. And then at some point in the episode, there’s like a paragraph that has an explanation that the writers put in for what they want the song to sound like. And so you get that script. And then you basically create a demo as if you have the job. And so I created a one minute demo for this song called the right way between a little girl and her elder. And I sent it to them. And I did both the vocals for the little girl and for the elder. Because I didn’t want a higher demo vocalist, of course. And

Ari Herstand
do they Is this an animator animator, they actually sing in the episode and the episode and they sing to each other,

Raye Zaragoza
like waiting for the actors. And so what was also fun about this job was I got to also, I had to do everything from start to finish with the track. So I also coached the kids to sing in so I ran a session. You know, yeah, you produced it. Yeah. So um, so it was really fun getting to work with kids, and also adults that were also adult guest stars and stuff. So. So actually, yeah, writing for television. And writing for sync is similar but different. Because with saying you’re writing to a brief, but with TV, you’re writing to a script with like, a brief inside the script, but you get way more to work on with TV because you have an entire 17 page script. Were

Ari Herstand
you writing the lyrics to or at the Lyric? Yes. Did the lyrics come from the I did

Raye Zaragoza
lyrics and I did lyrics and music, everything. But I did pull a lot of a lot I would, every time I read a script, I was like circling things we like we got to bring that word in that word. And it was like, What was so fun writing for TV was like, I felt like I got to be like an editor. And like, take every key word from every line and incorporate that into the song because the writers want to hear their words in the song. But I have done yeah, done work for Kids TV where the lyrics are done. Like the writers have written the lyrics and they just want you to write melody, which is also fun too. Because like, you get to like, do a puzzle of like, how do I fit all these words in because they want every single word in there?

Ari Herstand
Yeah, right. That’s when you call a Ben Gibberd. He’s the fitteam of gazillion words. Oh

yeah. Okay, so Well, you know, this show is called the new music business. So I gotta, I gotta we got to talk about the business a little bit and I got to.

I’m curious. So how does the business work? for composing for a show and Netflix show spear Rangers, is this a work for hire? Are you credited? Do you own the songs? Is this a licensing deal? Do you get royalties? residuals? You just get an A flat fee. Like, tell me how that situation works? Yes,

Raye Zaragoza
yeah, it was a whole learning curve for me as well. When I got the job. I was like, how does this work on the business end? Because, you know, luckily, I mean, first and foremost, luckily, I have a really, really amazing lawyer, everyone out there, like, have a lawyer, please. And so I was it was work for hire. So independent contractor, so I’m not an I was never an employee of Netflix. I did not have a Netflix email address. But it was, I was paid per song. And retained my writer. My writer share, but the But Netflix owns the publishing and owns the songs. So it is work for hire. And but yeah, but I still got to retain.

Ari Herstand
So you say you retain your writer shirt, meaning just the performance royalty. So you’re getting checks from your PRs, essentially, when the song Yeah, so that you don’t have any rights, necessarily, to the to the song.

Raye Zaragoza
Exactly, exactly. That’s my, that’s my interpretation of it. I do also have luckily very lucky to have a lawyer and business management who take care of a lot of that. So my understanding of it is that I retain my writer, like ASCAP, and I have my cue sheets and everything on ASCAP. I can see every single episode that I’ve written for on strangers comes up on my ASCAP and comes up on IMDb and all of those things. But I don’t own the song though. The song has been I’ve been bought out from Netflix, which I’m fine with because they treated me very well. And, and then yeah, but then also, what was exciting that I’m so lucky to have gotten to do was, they also hired me as a vocalist to sing the theme song as razor goes up the artist on the show. And there’s two theme songs on the show. And I got to sing both of them. And so I get royalties as a vocalist through sag for that.

Ari Herstand
Oh, wow. Yeah, and that is legit. And yeah, love love being vocal. Well, I’mvnot sure if we’re, if you’re. Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know if we’re legally allowed to talk about promoting the shutdown. Just kidding. Now that sag is on strike. We can’t promote any shout. No, just kidding. I’m a fellow. I’m a SAG member as well, of course, voting. Right. I just I’ve totally Selena Gomez just just got a bunch of shit for like posting a only murders in the building. promo. And they’re like you’re breaking the sag contract. You’re not allowed to do that right now. You can’t promote anything is tricky. Like what? Yeah, I

Raye Zaragoza
was just talking to someone about that. Like how, like, I don’t know, it’s talking to the person who does, like the morning show, like see, like the Today Show. And she was saying how she can’t have anyone. Like someone came to sing the song they wrote for Ted lasso. But they can’t show any clips from Ted last. They can perform the song they wrote for Ted last out, referenced

Ari Herstand
promoting that, right? Oh, my gosh, that’s crazy. It’s an interesting time.

Raye Zaragoza
I really hope they can work it all out. My brother is an actor, my dad’s an actor, and they’re both on the picket lines every day. And I really hope that we can reach an agreement soon and treat our writers and actors with respect.

Ari Herstand
Yeah, yeah. And totally. So getting back to the sink. or So it’s interesting, the difference between now now that you’ve done both sync work and composing work, because when you were mentioning before how the deal works for composers, you know, it’s almost seems like a hybrid of a sync deal because some composers that I talked to, I mean, it’s always worked for hire, but like when they’re not song songs when they’re just like scoring a show or something like that. It’s a little bit different because it’s not like I don’t those songs don’t get registered in the cue sheets necessarily. I don’t think maybe it changes with like ASCAP, you know, a third PRL. But with this because you were writing songs, you know, I guess the biggest difference is when when you do a license, well, I guess that’s that’s the big difference is is in sync licensing. It’s right in the title of what what it’s called, is when you license a song for sync, you retain the ownership as the writer and you’re you retain your publishing or your your sync agent, you know, participates in publishing along with you, but you retain ownership so you can do whatever you want with the song. You can lie. Instead of 1000 other times if you want that’s I guess a big difference is because when you are a composer on this Netflix so like, you can’t license you can’t just because you’re a writer on it, you’re not you don’t have you’re not allowed to go license this song for other people or anything like exactly.

Raye Zaragoza
And these songs you know, we’re there. They’re written for the show specifically, they’re not. I mean, they call me a composer like everything has been referenced to me as a composer. But I really what I’m doing is I’m a songwriter. I’m not doing any underscore for hire. Exactly. So yes, songwriter for hire. And, you know, the songs that I’m writing, I’m writing for the characters for that specific scene in it. So the songs really have no reason to live anywhere else other than on the show or on YouTube for the show. So show for those reasons, like work for hire stuff for kids stuff has always felt great. Because there’s nothing there’s no really Yeah, other places songs need to be.

Ari Herstand
Yeah, no, that makes it makes sense. Um, so I want to talk about, you know, you correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve been essentially self releasing, and is this is the new record? Is that also self released under your record label, rebel river records. So talk to you about rebel river records and how that came to be. And the idea behind that I saw that you like, involve your Patreon backers in the process in some way. So yeah, talk to me about rebel river records. And just like the release process over the last, I guess, as long as you’ve been doing it,

Raye Zaragoza
yeah, so hold that spirit is my third record. And I’ve only ever self released. And so I started rebel river records with my last record woman in color. And at that time, my management was like chopping my record to different labels. And we had like a couple interesting things on the table, and with this record, we did too, but just none of it felt like it was worth giving up a lot of my agency or the rights to have all the control. And also sure, the fact that I do things that are outside of my artists project is really only possible because I don’t have to get label waivers all the time. Even like for the Netflix show, I would have had to get a label waiver if I was on a major label, or I was on a label. And they that could that could have held a label. Yeah, yeah, I was actually talking about this with my Netflix rep. And so basically, like, this is my understanding of it. So correct me if I’m saying anything wrong, but when you’re on a label, you know, they have full control over your catalogue over what you produce and what you’re doing. And so if you’re going to do something work for hire, where the label is not cut in, or the label is not has no part of it, like if you’re doing a TV show, like this Netflix show where everything’s worked for hire, where, let’s say there is a part of your label deal where they control part of your publishing, or they have, say, in your publishing or whatever. You would need to get a label waiver, basically the label allowing you to do that show or to do XYZ. And a lot of times label waivers can take a lot of time to get approved to get worked through. And a lot of TV doesn’t have that time. And so my Netflix rep told me she was like, oh, yeah, like if you if we would have had, we would have needed a label waiver to work with you. It could have changed everything. Because we worked very quickly. Once I was hired, boom, we had to go to work so and I had the ability to sign completely. I had no one has any, you know, I don’t have to check with anyone. I don’t have the type of the label if I can do this or do that. So it’s worked really well for me to be independent. And so basically woman in color when I released that album in 2020 I just had this idea and I was like, you know, it’d be fun like what if I like started my own record label, powered by my fans, and I’ve been on Patreon for six years. I love my Patreon I’ve made like well into six figures on Patreon since I started and I just really really really am passionate about the subscription model for artists and even on during the pandemic when things were really rough. I didn’t know where I was gonna be making money I always had Patreon Patreon was like this like this like solid thing always. And so yeah, I just really leaned into it and thought it’d be a fun way to kind of do kind of like a crowdfunding campaign but have it be towards subscriptions instead of toward like a one time payment of like, Kickstarter or whatever, for this last record. So I ended up being able to fund that last record just on kind of really pumping up my Patreon by creating this record label which you know is an actual label, like I self released under rubble of records, but also I use my patrons as this kind of they act as like my label reps as I like to say, because I literally post all of the songs for that I’m considering for my records on Patreon, before they’re out. So everyone on Patreon has heard the music like months, months, months in advance, and they vote on which songs they think should go on the record. So for hold that spirit and woman in color, I posted like 20 songs, and then they voted on which ones they liked best, which I took into consideration with my own preferences with my team’s preferences, and with all that other things. But they really got a huge say, and like, the last song on the record on this record, when this shit is over, I was not going to put on my album because it was like an older song. I didn’t really think a new on the record, but my patrons like, made sure it was on the record. So I put that on there for them. And so yeah, it’s really been fun to get to crowdsource not not only crowdfund, but also crowdsource their opinions and treat them like my team.

Ari Herstand
Mm hmm. Yeah, well, let’s talk about some Patreon tips. You’ve made you set into well into six figures, which is an incredible what do you attribute to the your success on Patreon, because I’ve talked to a lot of artists who gave it a go and kind of either burnt out on it gave up on it, it didn’t return the what they thought, you know, based on the amount of effort they were putting into it. So give us some tips to the artists that are listening to just like what how you have found success on Patreon lately.

Raye Zaragoza
And just to clarify, like I’ve made well into six figures in total, since so not yearly or anything, because that would be amazing. Six years I go on Yeah, but I’m just all your listeners don’t think I’m like texting. But um, that’s still a significant amount of money. And that’s covered my rent for six years. But um, yeah, so anyway, um, I think I’m really lucky because I got in on Patreon, when it was pretty new or new ish. And I’m like, on the back end of my Patreon, it says like, I’m like a founder, like, I’m one of the early the early folks that was there. And I think that was lucky. Because when I was promoting my Patreon, in the beginning, it was very new. It was this like, hot, new thing. And a lot of the people who signed up were very much like, what is this, like, this is an exciting new thing. And that was also Batchelor. In the Instagram, Facebook algorithms weren’t shooting down anything that referenced Patreon or referenced other sites that have subscription models, I know Instagrams doing their own subscription model, or they were trying to, I don’t know. So at that time, I was actually able to really to promote my Patreon subscriptions very well organically on Instagram and Facebook, which is a lot harder now, I will say. So I think I could see why someone getting started in the past two years might say, dang, like, this is really hard. And I think a lot of that has to do with the algorithm. And it’s just really hard to like have organic reach now to transition people to Patreon. So a lot of people who I have on my Patreon have been there for like four years or more. And I still am acquiring, acquire, acquire them at shows or like I’m always mentioning my Patreon, I try to always drop it on stage or just, you know, in conversations on interviews, because you just never know someone out there like wants to support you. And so, um, I mean, my tips would be to like, you know, there have been times where I have devoted a lot more time and energy to promoting my Patreon and to giving it like a much larger part of my mental space. And there are times when I’ve given it a little bit less and then it’s kind of like the numbers have shown that and so if you start a Patreon you can really just post once a week, have it be something that’s not something that you feel like is going to take over your life and tell the people on Patreon that’s what you’re doing this is what you can expect from me and then have it there because a lot of people will sign up for your Patreon because they want to support you and they don’t really care how often you post so just having it there is nice even if it’s an extra like 100 $200 a month and then it can grow if you just organically person to person at your shows if you talk a lot or here or there or mentioned in on your Instagram or you know I’ve always liked gamified it being like if I get 20 new patrons today or next week or whatever on Instagram then I will release a video of this or like have these benchmarks like it has worked for me and it’s a slow climb but for me even with like all of my development of like my fan base, I feel like has been one by one like One person to this person told that person to that person. And the same thing goes for Patreon. I feel like once you get that one person who’s like, I believe in you, and I’m gonna give you $25 Every month for the next six years like, and then if you get 100 of those Yeah, it’s just, you know, I only have like 100 and something patrons, but it makes a huge difference in my income. Yeah. So yeah, it’s one by one.

Ari Herstand
I mean, yeah, and that’s, you know, the, it’s the concept of the 1000 true fans, which it’s a misnomer that it needs to be 1000. It’s any number of true fans that are going to support you every year, at varying amounts. And this is a true testament to, you know, we we become so obsessed as an industry with the macro numbers, you know, they’re listed right there on Spotify. What are your monthly listeners? What are your stream counts, and all of that stuff, I just, we just posted an episode. With the guys from beat app, their entire job is fighting streaming fraud, because it is so rampant and it’s just like, all these numbers are inflated and manipulated. And it’s like, and even Ross, the the rap artist, Ross was just going off on on Twitter, because his album came out and it didn’t chart it on Billboard like he thought it was supposed to. And he’s just like, all these other major label artist because he’s totally independent self released DIY as well. It’s like all these major label artists, you know, they’re manipulating the charts, being XY and Z, and this is how it’s done. And these numbers are inflated, and there’s bots, and that which he’s not wrong, he’s completely accurate. And we just like, the conversation is so obsessive around these top level vanity metrics. And that’s all really what they are. They’re just vanity metrics, and they don’t, they’re not meaningful, and especially when like streaming pays what it pays or doesn’t pay. It’s like, you know, at the end of the day, what are we doing? Like, what is the point of what we’re doing? And it’s like, you know, it’s, it’s, for most of us, I would imagine, it’s to make a living, supporting the kind of lifestyle that we want to live doing what we love, but also, you know, really engaging, and finding those people that are going to resonate with the art that we put out. And so you have a I’m on your Patreon right now you have 149 patrons, and that’s fantastic. And I see at varying levels, you know, and I love that you have kind of listed this right here. It’s like, you know, I love the terms like interns $5 A month engineers, $15 a month producers $35 A month executives $150 a month. And so like you’re a true testament to just kind of, you know, not obsessing over the macro numbers is like, how do I get more and more and more, more and more streams? Why aren’t I at the gazillions listeners, blah, blah, blah, but really focusing in on the people that actually care and then doubling down on that and realizing, well, if I connect with these people on a real deep, intimate level and meaningful level, and it’s like a respectful relationship, then they’re going to stay with me most likely for life. Like you said, a lot of them already been with you for years, there’s no indication that they’re just going to dip out because you’ve continued that relationship. Yeah,

Raye Zaragoza
exactly. I mean, I have some fans that have grown up with me, there’s a couple fans of mine that are like maybe 12 Now, but they start listening to music when they were six and like five and I I’ve watched them grow up their life. Yeah, and it’s amazing. And I am so about, like, exactly something about the micro I’m all about the super fan and I make the music for the super fans and I make sure that my super fans always feel like they’re being heard and they are being taken care of and that at my shows, I try to make sure I know who in the audit is a patron like hey Jelmer thank you for being here. My patrons hear you like Suzy thank you for being here. Like I’m so good to see you like again, you know, like, I want to make sure that people in the inner circle feel seen and heard and that people know that at anytime they can join our inner circle. And I recognize faces that shows I try to remember names and you know, like my streaming numbers are like nothing to write home about nothing I really give a shit about and like I of course like I’m on like one like full editorial playlist on Spotify. That isn’t even the majority of my streams on that song and I like have never really cared too much about streaming because I know that like the things that have sustained me and have given me such a amazing life with music are really more about the like, micro like fan to artists relationship. I do really good on merch. Yes, I do really good with live shows and I do great with my Patreon but a lot of the more macro things like charting on streaming or charting on this or that like it’s just it hasn’t been Um, how my music career has gone and I’m like fine with that, I don’t know if I’ll ever be a major label artists or I’ll ever be a million listener a month artists on Spotify, maybe who knows, but like, that’s not really what I care about. And I make like a really amazing living. I have, like, you know, investment accounts and a savings account and all like these things that I’ve completely made through music, because I have really valued, you know, instead of the vanity, I’ve really valued the sustainability. And that is also financial. And I, I have so much rather invest my time into, you know, playing smaller shows where I know I can fill the room, instead of like the vanity of like, I’m going to do this big thing and like, see if it works or whatever. And that’s also why I’ve played solo. For most of my career, like the past 10 years. I’m doing my first headline tour with a band this month. But before this, I’ve started playing shows when I was 19. I’m 30. I’ve only ever played solo, and kept my overhead very, very low. I don’t believe in touring. And losing money. I just I just don’t want to do it. I also don’t really have any interest in going to debt. So I just don’t do anything that’s going to overextend myself. And I keep overhead very, very low. William Elliott Whitmore, and Chloe Whitmore, his wife, I toured with them. And they both taught me they were like, keep overhead low, do it like and really nurture the small superfan audience and they do so well with that. And that’s always just been my way because I can’t compete with like the major this and like, I just I can’t compete with that. And I don’t really care too. So. Yeah.

Ari Herstand
Fantastic, great. Well, this is been so great. And I appreciate you sharing so much and being so transparent. And we’ve we’ve really gone on a trip all over the place. And it’s it’s great. And it’s fantastic. And I, again, the records brilliant, and I love it. And I wish you all the best on the tour. I’m gonna come to the hotel Cafe show that I saw you’re doing in a couple of weeks. I’ll be there. That’s exciting. So I have one final question that I ask everyone who comes on the show and that is what does it mean to you to make it in the new music business? What does it mean to be to make it and the new music business?

Raye Zaragoza
Honestly, this is like a boring answer. But I think it means to be able to support the life that you want. It does not need to be anything crazy. Like I live in a one bedroom apartment in Long Beach and I can sustain my life very comfortably. I’m never really stressed about money on a day to day basis. So that for me is making it my music has fed this life. It’s Nothing extravagant but it is absolutely wonderful and sustainable. So that to me is making it and being open and in the creative ways that that can come about I think when I first started playing music, I thought that my album sales who needed to be what secreted my life but I’ve realized that it’s actually some of the side dishes that actually make it happen like the sink stuff, the TV stuff, the theater stuff, the this or that like the Patreon it’s not just about the like head on like selling albums. And so yeah, being willing to open yourself up to those things.

Ari Herstand
Praise there it goes on. Thank you so much. That was great.

Today’s episode was edited by Mikey Evans with music by Brassroots District and produced by all the great people at Ari’s Take.

About The Author

Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.

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