It is no secret that hard work and persistence are just as important as talent for success in today’s music world. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of very talented singers, musicians, and bands playing weekends in small clubs all over the country while they focus on their jobs during the week. Some, like the Wohl Band from Guadalajara, will succeed beyond weekend gigs, but most of them will move on in their profession and music will remain a weekend pleasure for them and their audiences.
The artists that succeed are the ones who are not only superbly talented but spend almost every waking moment (and some sleeping moments) writing, arranging, playing, performing and recording music. They find a day job in the music industry that lets them learn, connect, and grow musically as well as pay the bills. They work to take – or create – every opportunity to introduce new audiences to their talent, and to hone and grow their art and expand their fan base as they move from small clubs to bigger venues. Just as important, they collect around themselves others from the music world – artists, executives, writers, producers, videographers – who support them and help fuel their careers. While this doesn’t guarantee success, in my experience it is a requirement for it.
The pop singer Binx is a case study in the hard work-persistence-talent success formula. She does all of this in spades and it is paying off for her – her success rocket has taken off.
I have followed Binx for four years and she is the hardest working artist I have known in that time. A songwriter, a model, an online media personality, a multimedia expert, a record producer, and a great pop singer, Binx and her onstage persona The African Bee never seem to stop. She killed with her breakout song, “Headlights” from her debut album Buzzed. Her second song from the album, “Shockwaves”, moved the bar up even higher with over 40,000 streams on Spotify. Her newest release, “DJ Space”, moves the bar literally into orbit with 20,000 streams in two weeks. Her YouTube Channel covers costume and makeup (she is an expert from her modeling days), her music, and just life- and is followed by legions.
Binx labors tirelessly to ensure that her music and face and voice are everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. – a feat that takes both long hours and skill for her to manage. She shoots and edits video, creates online memes and art, posts and aligns her messages across multiple platforms in real time, while writing, producing, recording and performing music.
Binx is not only hardworking and never-give-up persistent, but she is also strategic. She quickly saw that releasing songs one at a time leading up to an album drop was the best way to build audience (and pre-orders) in these days of tough competition and squishy attention spans. For her latest album, Bee From Space, released Thursday night, she led with 6 weeks of singles, each dropped individually on a Thursday night with a full-on PR effort, reviews, performances, and celebrations. She calibrated the campaigns herself to not overload fans with content, but keep top-of- mind awareness and a desire for more. It worked, given the streaming numbers so far.
But her success rocket has launched not just because of her marketing strategy and hard work; talent has a whole lot to do with it. Binx’s music and her performances stand out. With hints of early Lady Gaga and a touch of Cardi B. Binx delivers pop music that has depth underneath the froth and complexity behind the drum machines. Combined with her peculiar, but precisely controlled voice, Binx stands apart from most pop singers and “girls with guitars” (Binx plays one and several other instruments). She is in a separate a part of the music spectrum that is highly visible, but attainable by only a few. Part of it is her South African accent and perspective from living internationally. Part of it is a very dark period of her life in New York always swimming below the surface of her sunny songwriting, Part of it is her runway model looks and terrific talent for design. And part of it is that she is a very, very nice person – easy to know and easy to work with.
But for Binx, the whole is always more than the sum of the parts. From the sophisticated layered details of “Space DJ” to the impact of her swirling costume changes on stage, everything she does, writes, sings and posts fits together to create an entertainment gestalt that is a perfect case study of music success.
Patrick O’Heffernan is co-host of the LA-based, nationally syndicated weekly program, Music FridayLive! and is a music reviewer for online magazines Vents, The Hollywood Progressive and MusicJunkie. He has also co-hosted a national political talk show, The Fairness Doctrine, and hosted the “Uplinks” media segment on Saturday All Things Considered on NPR. He holds a PhD in International Relations from MIT, has been awarded an Emmy, four Addy’s, and a Webby-Honors, among other awards. He has published 5 books and ghost-written others. A project he co-launched, the North Asia Nuclear Free Zone, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. He serves on the Board of Netroots Nation.