Sometimes you have to use a nationally televised appearance to shine a spotlight on your DIY prowess, and that's exactly what Emily Keener did. The 18-year-old singer-songwriter from the small town of Wakeman, OH had been writing music and performing locally for years when a chance encounter changed everything.
She landed a blind audition on Season 10 of NBC's The Voice. The then 17-year-old blew away the judges with her folk-tinged version of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Indeed, she had the honor of performing songs from some of her greatest inspirations, including Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Jeff Buckley. That got her to the 11th spot of the season before exiting the show.
But, instead of taking advantage of her newfound celebrity and moving to Los Angeles or New York, Keener returned to her small community and began to organically cultivate her fan base. A true DIY move.
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Teaming up with local producer Dalton Brand, instead of a Hollywood hit-maker, allowed her to stay true to her roots as she recorded, co-produced and released her album Breakfast in November of 2016.
With the help of a PR firm, but no management or agent, Keener has since gone on to sell out shows in the Midwest and has begun to venture even farther, playing shows in larger cities such as Los Angeles and Nashville.
As she gears up for more self-booked tours in 2017, Keener will be rolling out self-produced and self-funded music videos to keep that organic momentum flowing.
For more on Emily Keener, see emilykeener.com.