most successful independent artists

No Deal, No Problem: The Most Successful Independent Artists

Plenty of musicians on Gigmor have “become a rock star” set as their goals . As everyone knows, this doesn’t happen overnight. Most successful independent artists spend years playing live shows, advertising, recording and a lot more. In the past few years, we’ve seen a wave of indie artists who made it by themselves, without the help of a record label or a deal. It’s 2016 and there really are no rules on how to increase exposure of an artist’s material and brand. Whether it’s through simple street promotion or giving away your music, the road to stardom is no longer a straight, predetermined path. Let’s take a look at the most successful independent artists that did it on their own.

1.Chance The Rapper

Chancellor Bennet, better known to the rap world as Chance The Rapper, has had one of the most unique paths to success there is. During his senior year of high school, Chance got suspended for 10 school days and ended up recording his debut mixtape, sensibly titled “10Day”. In 2013, his second mixtape “Acid Rap” brought him loads of publicity followed by a nation wide tour and recognition as Complex Magazine’s favorite album of 2013. The only profit Chance has ever generated is from live shows and his debut album “Coloring Book”, released in May continues his freebie streak. The album is available on every major streaming service as well as Soundcloud. Now a co-sign of major artists like Kanye West, James Blake, and Frank Ocean, Bennet is taking the rap world on by storm. Through unique distribution methods and a reputation for a wild performance accompanied by magical dance moves, Chance is only going to get bigger and bigger.


Formed in 2009, the band met at an artist commune in the Greek island of Crete. Their self-titled debut EP was released independently and recorded in their drummer, Ryan Rabin’s, home studio. From there they scored a spot on Florence + The Machine’s summer tour where they got all the exposure they could dream of. Their debut album was also released independently and now they are one of the biggest names in indie-rock. That summer GROUPLOVE was invited to play at festivals across the world including Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, and Outsidelands. Find that studio space people, it could be a game changer!


One of the most talented bassists in the entire music industry, Stephen Bruner has come a long, long way. Under the moniker Thundercat, the bassist/producer/vocalist has worked alongside some of the most unique minds in the business ranging from George Clinton to Kendrick Lamar to Michael McDonald. Thundercat has released three albums all through frequent collaborator Flying Lotus’ independent label Brainfeeder. Bruner started slapping bass at the age of 15 and has been free to release his music and work with whom ever he pleases ever since. Again no label, no restrictions.

Written by Gigmor guest blogger: Ari Kapner

Spotlight on JayLong, LA-Based Violinist and Producer

Meet Jonathan Long AKA JayLong. Jonathan is a songwriter, vocalist, violinist, guitarist, and the frontman for the Los Angles based band Vulpes. Vulpes enjoys playing all sorts of music ranging from indie rock to R&B and hip-hop to electronic. Long has been playing violin since the age of five and does not plan on stopping any time soon. He has been playing for almost twenty years. Long also has a degree in Music Education and Music Performance from Xavier University and tends to focus on the “purpose” within music. According to Long his life is centered around that purpose.

Vulpes is actively looking to play shows so make sure to reach out to JayLong on Gigmor. They have a ton of work on the page including really great covers of massive pop hits like Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Sam Smith & Disclosure’s “Latch”.

JayLong is a self taught producer. He taught himself how to use ProTools and is classically trained in violin as well as the art of acting– talk about multi-talented. With so many different influences, there is no wonder Long aims to create a fusion of as many genres as possible. For example, Vulpes would play live jazz while using 90’s hip-hop samples and a heavily syncopated dubstep bass in the background. Jonathan isn’t looking to find a specific sound, but instead a language that he can communicate through. He really seems like he’s going places between his smooth voice, talent on multiple instruments, and all of his production experience. Make sure to check out his Gigmor page and give him a follow!

Written by Gigmor guest blogger: Ari Kapner

Getting To Know You: Dan Turner of Washington D.C.’s deadbeatniks

Today’s feature is on Dan Turner and his band The deadbeatniks, a hip-hop/funk collective out of the nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. Dan, a Berklee College of Music grad, took some time to sit down with us to tell us about his musical roots as well as the band and their album Can. The band recently moved down to New Orleans to get “weirder and jazzier” and work on their new album. Check out what Dan had to say below.


Gigmor: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us at Gigmor! First question, how did the deadbeatniks get started?

Dan: We have all been friends for a very long time, all kind of doing our own music. Then we said, “Screw it, why aren’t we doing this together?” I’m originally a sound engineer, one of us is a visual artist, and the other one is a classical jazz player. So we kind of just brought all three of those together you know, making music, making videos. As far as the name, it’s just kind of a joke at one point and we ran with it. Also, side note, the d is lower case.


G: Noted. What’s in store for deadbeatniks? Any new music coming out?

D: Yeah we’ve got some new music and videos coming out, we’re trying to have our album done by 2017. We should have some new videos out in the next couple months we’ll be sure to post them on our Gigmor page. We’ve got this new song about Daiquiris, we’ve been obsessed with them ever since moving down to New Orleans, and we’re actually going to the New Orleans Daiquiri Festival next weekend so we’re going to shoot the video for our song then.


G: Wow, very cool. So personally, what’s your musical background? When did you start playing?

D: I’ve played drums since I was 14 but really now a days I’ve been focusing on mixing–I’ve been doing sound engineering for about four years now. What I like to think about my musical career is–at this point–that I’ve got the ears for it, I’m more on the production side. We just moved down to New Orleans and I’ve been connecting with a lot of great brass musicians.


G: Do you have any solo work out?

D: I have some beats and stuff but pretty much everything I do is for deadbeatniks.


G: What/Who are your inspirations behind deadbeatnik’s songwriting? Kristen Ritter?

D: Pretty women yeah for sure Kristen Ritter is definitely an influence. But in terms of musicians…uhhhh… Gorillas, Portishead, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

G: What was the songwriting process of making your album Can like?

D: It wasn’t rushed, it wasn’t like we had songwriting sessions. We would just hang out and you know, we’d have a wall full of ideas… like a creative wall. So we didn’t force anything we just kind of let it play its self out. It was simply a group of great individuals with great ideas just bringing it all together. We didn’t really have a process.


G: Well you guys definitely have a great sound. Now in terms of Gigmor. How did you find out about the site? What do you like about it?

D: I just moved to a new city and saw an ad online about it. I just thought it couldn’t hurt to try and connect with as many new musicians as possible. What I like about it– it’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to find what you’re looking for. Keep it up!


G: Well Dan thanks so much for the input and talking with us today. Check out deadbeatnik’s album Can here and give them a follow to keep track of their upcoming releases.


Written by Gigmor guest blogger: Ari Kapner