Guest Blog Post: Blake Burris

Hello everyone!

        My name is Blake, and I recently joined the Independent Ear team! Let me start off by saying how excited I am to meet and work with each of the artists, as well as, hopefully meet each of you reading this right now!

I will briefly tell you about who I am, where I come from, and my experience; topping it all off with a little tip I learned from playing shows throughout my life.

        I started playing the drums when I was in the fifth grade, and right then I knew I was never going to stop! I’m a pretty modest guy so I do not like talking so much about how well I play, but I have always been told I have a great sense of rhythm. I played in my school band, jazz band, pep band all throughout school. No matter how conflicting my schedules were I always made time for my music. When I was a Sophomore in high school I decided I wanted to start a band. The only problem with that was no one else wanted to start one! So, I made an acoustic band called “Uncommon Time”. Soon my best buddies from high school joined in and we were the life of our local coffee shop!

Later in my junior year I was approached by a very talented individual who had a band already going called “Look Up…” he told me about an open position as a guitarist and I quickly said yes! Before I knew it my summer and free weekends were packed with shows! Some with just five kids rocking out, and others on a stage at the state fair! As my senior year came to an end a phenomenal opportunity arose; we were asked to join a tour called “The Extreme Tour”! Mind you I was still seventeen years old, freshly graduated high school; I was living the dream! I got to experience it all, and by that I mean, a broken trailer, living on a tour bus, playing shows for people who have no idea who you are, meeting new people, wondering when the next stop with a shower will be! It wasn't warped tour, but it was an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything! It truly humbled me as a musician and a person; we weren't the great alternative rock band from central Illinois. We were on the road playing to people who didn't know our name and playing next to artist who were so talented it blew my mind! I came back home from the tour, and left “Look Up…”. I know what you are thinking. Why would I ever do that? It wasn't the guys, it wasn't the tour, it was me. I felt like I could do it all by myself so I tried.

        I did the solo act thing for a month or two and missed being in a band, so, I made a new band with guys I went to high school with called “Made From Myths”. It was a metalcore band and I was very much out of my comfort zone, but it really helped me grow as a person. I learned more about connecting with the fans, being a part of the “local music scene”, and talking with all the fans as much as possible. I loved it, but it wasn't the type of music I loved playing most. Don't get me wrong I'm a huge metal fan! It just wasn't where I belonged. Before I know it I found a job working for a retailer and I was getting promoted to assistant manager, and now they transferred me to a store up here in the Chicagoland area! I love my job, but music is where I want to be. When I do things that involve music it isn't work to me; it is passion. I still write music, but more than anything I love networking, talking to new artists, sitting in on practices, help improve what is already good, and go to shows.



        Now, I am almost twenty-one living in the St. Charles area; originally from Illiopolis, Illinois (shoutout to my hometown) and if you don’t know where that is it is near Springfield! I happened upon an ad for an internship here at Independent Ear, and when I sat down to talk with Ryan the CEO I knew immediately this is where I wanted to be. It isn't some huge company that is going to make me do meaningless tasks with no recognition. I am here to help grow myself as a musician, manager, and businessman, as well as, help the company grow into something bigger like it deserves. This is my life summed up the best I could do, and truly I am very excited to meet everyone. If anyone sees me around I am always down to talk about music! I work hard at what I do, and I am my own worst critic.

        My best piece of advice: For anyone signed to a label, any artists starting out, or anyone reading this; appreciate the little shows. The media has a misconception as to what the music industry is like. No you don’t play four shows in front of groups of people and then start selling out venues. It doesn't happen. Even the huge bands we all listen to start somewhere and that somewhere is the little shows. Yes, I am talking about the shows where your brother, best friend, and his best friend show up. Play your heart out like you are playing in front of a thousand people make them remember you. Talk to them, hang with them, talk about life, and their dreams. This is the only way to truly build a loyal fan base. Without them there would be no crowd to begin with. Posting an event page and inviting all of your friends on Facebook is not the way you get people to come to shows. You get them by making friends. Those friends invite more, and more and so on. Simply put and I KNOW IT SOUND CLICHÉ.                 

Remember where you come from.