by lisa horak
Kane is making it in the music business, despite the odds.
of Ashevilles most talented local singer-songwriters, her CDs
and live performances have received rave reviews and her most recent
CD Rain and Mud and Wild and Green has sold more than 10,000 copies,
which, she jokes, would be a pathetic number if I were on a major
label. It is, however, an admirable number for an independent
label, especially one owned and run by an artist. Her beautiful, clear
voice, intelligent and articulate lyrics, and laid-back, down to earth
personality resonate with her listeners. But talent alone does not guarantee
success. Its how Christine has chosen to market her talent that
sets her apart from scores of other gifted musicians.
has her own definition of what it means to be successful in the music
business. In an age where major record companies wrest artistic control
from musicians, Christine has created her own independent label, Big
Fat Music. In so doing, she maintains the freedom to craft and record
songs that are the truest reflections of her self, her soul, and her
is an ardent believer that if you follow your heart it will take you
where you need to go. A writer first and foremost, Christine has kept
a journal since she was seven and has a degree in writing from Boston
College. But it is the organic process of songwriting that is her true
passion. Her first big break came when fellow local singer David LaMotte
had to cancel a weekend of shows and asked Christine to fill in. She
did and was a huge hit with the audience. Christine describes a defining
moment that first night. There was a Shakespeare Troupe in town
that wandered in. One of the actors found out it was my first public
performance. He handed me a hundred-dollar bill and told me to never
give up. And I havent, she says.
Christine, there was a lot to learn about the business side of making
music. First I had to get organized. In the beginning I hired
someone to handle my mailing list and one day I burst into tears because
he couldnt help memy office was just too chaotic,
says Christine. I had to start from zeroliterally, I had
to buy a file cabinet and filesso that someone coming in could
understand what was what and what needed to be done. In addition,
she began reading books on business, including Organizing From the Inside
Out by Julie Morganstern and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen Covey.
most important, she hired a business coach, Thom Politico, to help her
get on the right track. He looked at my entire life, not just
my business and helped me face my fearsnamely my belief
that I could never do anything artistic. I had such illusions of what
it meant to be a musician, says Christine. Thom encouraged
me to really sit and think about what I wanted. He helped me combine
the artistic, spiritual, and business sides so that everything in my
world was integrated and true.
four CDs later with a new one entitled Right Outta Nowhere due out in
Spring 2004, Christine has a loyal and steadily growing fan base and
a schedule chock full of performances on the listening room/folk circuit.
The hardest part is being on the road so much, but to be successful
you have to travel a lot. I think the best work comes when you are where
you love to be. I love to be home in Asheville, says Christine.
Her greatest satisfaction comes from her live performances. Im
out there playing my songs for people who are there to hear me. I dont
want to be that stereotypical image of the musician. I just
want to be myself, she says.
most important lesson Christine has learned is that you have to actively
take your career into your own hands. Ive noticed that so
many artists tend to think that their big break is just around the corner,
that they will be discovered by an agent or a major record label. But
it doesnt happen like that. No one is going to rescue you from
you. You have to save yourself and believe in yourself, says Christine.
For women especially, you have to be aware of the temptation to
be the victim or the damsel in distress.
is so passionate on this point that she has moved into the realm of
teaching and recently spoke at a seminar that was not about music but
about following your heart. One of her lectures is entitled, Getting
a Job is Boring. Get A Life Instead.
Being pro-active rather than passive has been invaluable to the success
of Christines business. From her office downtown and with the
help of a few top-notch, simpatico employees like office manager Rachel
Wilson, who takes care of Christines booking and publicity, her
company handles everything from product fulfillment to music publishing
and everything else.
been a gift to learn about business, she says. Because Im
more on the emotional side, Ive learned to step back and not get
my feelings hurt as much. Ive also seen that there are so many
business people who care deeply about their product. And they get their
hearts broken over and over again. But they get back up.
those contemplating a career in music, Christine offers these words:
There are no guarantees. Taking any kind of risk that is worth
it is scary, and there are always going to be challenges. You have to
take baby steps and be patient. Also, you have to carefully consider
timing. What is it time for? For me, there was a definite time to make
a first CD, and later there was a time to step into a bigger arenaspend
more money on photos and production. There is a quote by Marian Williamson
that Your playing small doesnt serve the world. I
agree with that completely.
the world is indeed important to Christine, who is committed to doing
what feels right to her. For example, she conscientiously uses recycled
paper for her office supplies, supports organic farming, and advocates
alternative health care. Her song Everything Green is about
the development of the new I-26 highway here in Asheville, but was inspired
by Julia Butterfly Hill who made her home in a California redwood tree
for two years to protest the logging of those ancient and immense trees.
byproduct of Christines personal growth is that she has seen her
songs get stronger, reflecting the confidence that comes with knowing
you have done your best and given your all. When you listen to
your heart and your business aligns with your values, more opportunities
come along. Life is much happier and much more fun, she says.
lives in south Asheville with her husband and two daughters, Molly and
Isabel. In her spare time she hikes, volunteers in classrooms, and dreams
of writing childrens books. [ firstname.lastname@example.org