Meet Cyrille Aimee, a professional jazz vocalist who, in addition to singing in 3 languages and releasing over 7 records, is making time to create online music videos.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Patreon Page: www.patreon.com/cyrilleaimee
Q+A with Cyrille Aimee
Patreon: Describe, in your own words, what it is that you create.
Cyrille Aimee: My main focus of creation is music, and videos to go along with it.
How did you get your start as a creator?
CA: I discovered I wanted to make music when I met some gypsies in my village in France at the age of 13. One of them started to teach me the guitar and in exchange I would teach him to read.
What did it take to end up where you are today?
CA: A lot of hard work, falling down and getting back up, and grabbing every opportunity that came my way, but mostly, a lot of love for what I do, and passion.
If you could be any ocean creature aside from a dolphin or a shark, which would you pick and why?
CA: Maybe an octopus? There are so many things I love to do and I always want to try to learn new things and feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. If I had 8 arms it would be so much easier! 😉
At what point did you decide to develop your creative passion into a business?
CA: I guess I never felt that there was a moment where I decided to be a singer. I just love to sing, so I kept doing it every chance I got, and the more I did it the more people wanted to hear it, and then I started to get paid for it and realized it was my job!
What are three tactics you’ve used to grow your audience over time?
- Always being honest in what I create. Never trying to sound like anyone else. If you’re happy being yourself, the audience will follow.
- Being present on social media
- Playing a LOT of live shows. Putting myself out there!
What has been the most effective monetization method for you the last year?
CA: Playing shows has always been my main source of income, especially selling records at my shows. But with all the free streaming sites and apps, people are buying less and less albums, and touring the world constantly can get exhausting. The biggest downside to touring is not actually having time to sit down and create. Being home and writing music becomes a luxury. That is why Patreon can become a great way to be able to afford “down time” which is vital for every creator.
When was the hardest time in your creative career, and what do you wish your present self could’ve told your past self during that time?
CA: I don’t regret anything in my life, and I feel like the hardest times I ever had were the ones that I learned the most from. I wouldn’t change a thing because I wouldn’t be standing here if I had.
What is the greatest challenge you face right now as a creator?
CA: The biggest challenge for me is actually allowing myself to stay home and compose. It’s difficult to say “no” to gigs since that is my main income, and sometimes time off is precious because it’s the only time I have to re-center and create.
How have your fans helped you throughout your creative career?
CA: My fans have helped me in countless ways. From the very beginning they have helped me to believe in myself and my art. They have helped support my music by coming to my shows, buying my CDs, and by spreading the word. The best promotion is friends telling each other (through social media, or word of mouth) about what kind of stuff they’re into, and new artists to check out.
When did you decide to launch on Patreon, and in what ways has it affected your creative goals?
CA: I’ve been a Patreon artist for a couple years after a friend told me about it. I thought the concept was genius and such a modern way of looking at the business of music nowadays.
Patreon has helped me get closer to my fans, building one-on-one relationships with them, but also it has helped me afford time to create. I now have a budget to make music videos, or write songs. I can collaborate with other musicians, hire a camera or sound guy, and pay them for their time, without it always being a big investment for me.
What does Patreon mean for artists and creators?
CA: To me, Patreon is the future of the music business. To cut out the “middle man” and make art accessible directly from the artist to the fan, is one of the beauties of internet. Furthermore, with Patreon, the fans get to follow closely with the development process. It’s a way to get feedback as a creator.
How did you first announce your Patreon page to your community? What was the general feedback?
CA: I announced it through my other social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter…), and at first people were confused because it’s the first site with such a concept. But I made a video that explains everything and put in on my Patreon page so they would understand.
What’s next for you? Are there any exciting projects or big goals you are working towards?
CA: I am working on a new album! As of now I don’t know what kind of project to do, which is a great opportunity because everything is possible, but I need to stop for a minute and think. I am on the road for the next few months, so I will start writing when I get back.
If you could challenge creators to do one thing that worked for you, or was transformative in your experience, what would it be?
CA: I have done a lot of competitions, but the most challenging one was Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. I think everyone has their own way, but for me, what makes me grow as an artist is getting out of my comfort zone. I love challenging myself and if I fall, I get back up even stronger.
If you could collaborate with one creator, dead or alive, who would it be?
CA: The list is very long, but I’ve always wanted to sing duets with Bobby McFerrin!
That’s all, folks! Want to say hey? Reach out to Cyrille here: