How Canadian musician Scotty James is going one step beyond
By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
In an age where the Internet has taken over, one would assume getting their name out there would be a piece of cake. While it may have been for a time, every up-and-coming musician has either a SoundCloud or Bandcamp to their name, making the ability to stand out far more difficult. For Waterloo, Ontario’s Scotty James, where one might see this flood of music as a roadblock, he saw an opportunity. As James tells us, he knew the best way to promote himself was by way of a literal grassroots campaign.
“I’m a very determined artist,” James starts. “I went door-to-door serenading people on their front porch to raise money for an album… and I went from nothing to getting on the radio with very little resources and being unsigned.”
James is an independent musician who hit Canada’s Top 40 back in 2011 with his single “Wanna Be Loved” off his first album, Crazy. With no label and all the support he could get, James has already achieved more than most Canadian indie pop artists; besides having a hit single, he’s reached a total of 18,000 fans on Facebook.
“As an independent artist in Canada, it is very possible to get on the radio if you have a great song and… persistence for sure. The best thing, because of the Internet, is for you to try and branch out as much as you can and hit a worldwide audience… not just Canada.”
But going door-to-door was just the first step. After meeting his manager and releasing Crazy, what was the next step?
“We went through a period where we didn’t really know what to do. We always knew that we had to do things differently because there are millions of artists trying to do the same thing. So we decided to take on the challenge [of hitting] 1,000,000 fans in only 99 days, to show people in general that they can achieve their dream in a very short period of time.”
Originally, the plan was to achieve this goal by spending a single dollar a day on their campaign. However, James has since informed us that they’ve found a way to try and do this without spending a nickel.
“Even being on a major label doesn’t work the same way as it did 10 years ago. You have to develop a fan base all on your own—it’s changed a lot. In order to stand out, you have to do something different, like Walk Off the Earth did, and it’s so different that everybody’s talking about it.
“We’re going to achieve this goal, something that a lot of people think is impossible, and we’re going to prove publically from scratch that we can achieve it. And [this] doesn’t only apply to musicians. It applies to anybody who’s trying to achieve a goal or a dream in their life. Nothing great is ever easy, and [this project] is going to be an example of that.”
The “1,000,000 fans in 99 days” campaign launches on May 1. You can help James reach this goal by following him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scottyjamesmusic. You can also keep an ear out for James’ latest single, “Never,” which was released last September. And remember, supporting the campaign isn’t just helpful for James; it’s helpful to every independent artist that’s ever wanted to achieve something big—even if that artist is you.