The only problem with being #1 is there’s no place to go but down. I should know. Recently DownTown Mystic was #1 for 3 weeks in Europe and this is the 1st time I’ve had a chance to talk about it. Being #1 is kind of odd because it’s not something you expect to happen. Also, when you say you’re #1, people start to think you’re bragging. I mean you can talk about rising up a chart all you want and nobody seems to have a problem with that. But once you hit #1, all bets are off. 🙂
DownTown Mystic gets a good deal of radio airplay around the world, especially in Europe. But outside of landing on the Euro/Americana Chart in 2010, there weren’t too many charts to talk about there. Last year I decided I would release the Rock’nRoll Romantic album. The big question for me would be how to go about promoting it. I thought I would test the waters at Radio in Europe with a single and released Turn Around and Go.
To my surprise, the single entered the Official European Independent Music Chart at #18 and then #14 a week later. By the 3rd week, the song disappeared altogether. Now this chart is only a Top 20 chart, and musically, it’s primarily Pop/Top 40 kind of tracks (think Euro-Dance, Hip-Hop, etc.). Needless to say, I felt quite good about this since I believe my brand of Roots/RnR can compete, if given a chance. Given that the other songs on the chart were more pop-oriented, I put out 2 more singles that I thought were more Pop (and stronger sounding), but didn’t get bupkis…nada…zilch…zero. This was even more surprising to me. lol
Sometimes things happen…really bad things that seem so senseless. In mid-November 2015 the horrible Paris Attacks occurred. Like everyone else in the world, there’s a feeling of helplessness when anything so inconceivable happens. 9/11 was like that for us here in the US. As an artist you feel the need to create something that can have meaning for people in these circumstances. I didn’t write anything in response to the attacks but I did have a song that was apropos and had a hopeful message. I put it in the back of my mind.
When January 2016 came around I decided to release the song as a single in Europe, knowing that many of the stations that reported to this chart were in France and Belgium. Being that the attacks were still fresh in everyone’s mind, I felt that if I had one song that could indirectly address the situation, this song would be my choice. The song was Way to Know, a straight ahead rocker with a message that doesn’t hit the listener over the head. There’s a subtlety to the lyrics that can be looked at from a number of different perspectives.
Ironically, it had already been at #1 on a US Indie Chart. I had released a digital EP last summer called DownTown Mystic on E Street, which had Way to Know on it. The EP features Max Weinberg & Garry Tallent, the RnR Hall of Fame rhythm section from The E Street Band and had not been released in Europe. So I was bringing my “A” game!
I released Way to Know in January and it was kind of amazing to be truthful. About the 3rd week of January it entered the chart at #19. Here’s the even stranger part for me…there was NO PROMOTION. You can’t hire anybody or email anybody to promote your track. It’s all done by the listening audience who text in their votes. This was really crazy and all happening to DownTown Mystic in Europe. I had to believe that song was connecting with that audience at least on a subliminal level.
The higher I went on the chart the tougher it got. By the 4th week I was at #10 and I was good to go. Now I could drop off the chart and feel real good about making the Top 10. But then it got crazier. The song kept creeping up the chart and now I was starting to get hooked on it. #8, #7, #6, #5 and then to #3. Top 3?? For real?? This is amazing!! Every week people are voting for DownTown Mystic and the numbers keep getting better! 🙂
Meanwhile, I was starting to promote the DownTown Nashville release at US Americana Radio. DownTown Mystic would debut in the Top 5 Most Added on the AMA Chart in the 1st week of release! That had never happened before. Am I on a roll or what? I know it seems nuts to have 2 different releases on 2 different continents going on at the same time but I never expected the success in Europe to continue! I was at #7 when I mailed out DownTown Nashville to Americana Radio and thought it was all over.
But I still wasn’t done in Europe. The following week Way To Know moved up another spot for the 10th straight week to #2 and then stayed there for another week…2 straight weeks at #2 and I was a basket case. I was content with #10 and that was over a month ago! Will I ever get to #1 or will the slow torture continue? The song in front of Way To Know at #1 is some pop song by a French singer, but I can see that I’m gaining on him in the voting.
Week # 12 it happens—DownTown Mystic–Way To Know #1 UNBELIEVABLE!!! 🙂
DownTown Mystic had been on this radio chart for 3 months and had finally reached #1. Now what happens? I mean, where do you go from #1? I have to say it was far more exciting climbing the chart than arriving at that exalted place…but I’d be lying if I didn’t think being #1 is very cool!! 🙂
Way To Know spent 2 more weeks at #1 and then went back to #2. I knew it was over. I had become an action junkie and now the action was over. OMG! lol There was no place to go but back down the chart. Boo hoo…don’t cry for me Argentina. DownTown Mystic spent the first 4 months of 2016 on the Official European Independent Music Chart, going all the way to #1 against all odds. My hope is that the music had an impact with the listeners and gave them a feeling of something positive against a backdrop of tragic events. 🙂