Written by Imani Wj Wright
Being an independent artist is a beautiful thing. Yes, you are your own boss, and yes, you are free from any binding record label contracts, but- do not take the word independent, too literally. Independent does not necessarily mean alone, and in this case, it shouldn't mean alone. There are so many aspects to becoming successful, and building a productive/loyal team around you is crucial.
What's a productive team? First things first, you have to understand your own energy, and then find those who match it, or maybe even exceed it. How badly do you want it? How many hours a week do you rehearse, plan, or study your craft? All of these questions are important to ask yourself as you want people who reach your level of dedication. Secondly, identify your needs. Are you disorganized and need someone who is willing to help you keep things aligned? Does your music contain lots of heavy keyboard, and you need a live keyboardist? Now, on the other side of things, also know who to not have around. Sometimes there can be too many opinions in a room, from my experience, this can (at times) slow down processes, especially artistically.
I had a chance to catch up with videographer and photographer Lukey Lenz in reference to the importance of having a productive team. Lenz has worked around artists such as: PnB Rock, Method Man, and Premo Rice, to name a few. Lenz asserted:
“Good teams draw from the understanding that they each need to make opportunities for themselves and the artist, whether it be a promoter, booking manager, or even another artist within the group. The idea is to work like a tree, growing the branches and making more connections.”
Since Lenz has been a team member for several artists, I asked him how he attributes to the artists’ image, and how he tries to make them appear to the public.
Lenz laughed, and then stated: “ As a visual artist I like to complement the subject by appealing to their aesthetics as well as sprinkling in some of my creative visions. Life is not necessarily like a movie, so when I do capture an artist I try to give a realistic representation of how they operate. A natural and genuine feel is what I go for because it not only gives their fans a true idea of what they are about, but who they actually are.”
Lenz continued and specified how he attempts to capture artists in a live concert space. “On stage it is typical for me to focus or zoom as according to what I feel the artist is trying to convey. If the song feels personal, the viewer may want to see expressions on the artist's face so they themselves can be enthralled. If the song is energetic, I’m going to give the audience a wider shot and allow them to see all the elements, pieces, and motion that make a good performance. These are subtle things that allow people to feel more connected to you and the artist.”
As much as I enjoyed listening to Lenz go through his artistic outlook on visually capturing artists, I more so focused on how everything he did had purpose. He evidently plays his role with high levels of dignity zeal. He had a multifaceted outlook of himself, the task at hand, and the artist. Lenz is a prime example of the type of team member one should be, and the type of team member one needs.
Follow Lukey Lenz on Instagram @LukeyLenz
In the meantime.. Stay Virtuous. Stay Idealistic. Stay Progressive.