Since those first days of performing at the local concerts in Cape Breton, I started to develop a following outside of Nova Scotia; first in the rest of Canada, then in the U.S.
The various folk festivals in North America gave me an initial community to perform with and, it was all very organic . . . one thing led to another. I focused on making my performance the best that it could be (practice, practice, practice and even more practice!!), and word of mouth referrals among the festival buyers began. By returning to some of the same festivals year after year, we built up an audience base so that it became feasible to perform in theatres. I was invited to do some theatre shows as part of other tours, such as Greenfields of America, Celtic Fiddle Festival, and Masters of the Folk Violin. This led to new relationships in even more communities.
The Internet became an amazing way to communicate directly with fans and venues as well as to share information on what we were recording and when we were performing. With a public following it became easier to attract a manager, agent and record label.
Though it has all been driven by my passion for music, it is still a business that needs to be run properly. My parents were my guides at first and still give me sound advice. Having someone who cares and who you trust completely makes a difference in those formative years.
I have always made sure that each new team member reflects the business values that I am committed to and that they understand always the direction I’m headed in.
Handling the many details around touring properly lets me focus on being my best for the fans while I am onstage. My own business organization, which reflects my values on and off the stage, has given me a foundation that has allowed my career to grow in a stable and sustained way. Even when the record business has taken an interesting turn, the fans and the shows are still there.
The one thing that has remained constant is I am always learning as the environment I live, work and perform in evolves. Strong relationships and being focused on my goals have been key ingredients in letting me do what I enjoy most – live performance.
– Natalie MacMaster