Seeing our customers thrive is what moves our work. Fanny Hulard, a European musician recently relocated to the USA, shared an article with us, which she wrote herself, about her experience with WARM. Fanny comments about the challenges she faces as an artist, and how her airplay data played a key role in her career even with her relocation and visa process.
I was born in France and have been playing music since I was 5 years old. Back then, I lived in a small village where music education was limited to either learning how to play the organ, the piano, or the accordion. Don’t ask me why, but I chose the organ. I had no idea what instrument it was and the type of practice it would involve.
Turns out I loved it and I was playing all the time, to my non-musician parents' surprise! Soon I participated in regional organ competitions (yes, it was a thing!) and became European champion of the organ when I turned 12. Music was part of me, and after such an accomplishment I strived for more. I felt the need to experiment and learn how to play other instruments. I played the saxophone, the alto flute, the drums, and some guitar. I was the drummer of my first band, and that’s when rock music infused into my DNA.
When I was 20 I produced my own very first solo album “Bless This Mess”. It was punk, raw, and very inspired by my idols back then: The Distillers, Green Day…
It was an incredible experience, and I directed my 2 music videos with whatever I could. Can’t say it was my best visual work, but I learned so much. I lived in the south of France at that time and my major issue was finding bandmates I could play my songs with, as well as local rock venues. Cannes, as appealing as it can be for the movie stars, is not a place for rockers.
That’s when I moved to London for a couple of years, hoping to find that. But London wasn’t good for me. And in 2008, the music scene/industry was still a men’s world but I met some incredible and inspiring musicians who became long time friends.
After that chapter of my life, I had to experience and unite with the music I grew up with: the Beach Boys and all the legends of Rock n' Roll. I also needed a nice place in the sun for a little while. That’s how I ended up in Los Angeles, California.
I never meant to become a musician there. In fact, at that stage of my life, I thought that path had no future. That’s when I met Vincent Walter Jacob. Another French who had just arrived in LA, with a more glorious music career than mine. We understood each other, we had a common culture and together we started to dream of an American Dream we hadn’t anticipated. We fell in love and founded our band Yard Of Blondes. We played our first show a week later in an art gallery in Melrose as a folk duet.
I was finally complete. I had to stay in this heaven. That’s when the visa matter came up! Because of my tourist visa, I wasn’t able to work in the US or earn money with concerts. So we toured California for charity shows, open mics, and non-paid gigs! We eventually got married, a year later, but that didn’t solve the problem of course.
We both had major international accomplishments in our musical careers, and an immigration attorney told us about the artist visa (O-1B*). It wouldn’t be the easiest visa to get, but we were ready for this because Los Angeles is where we both are happy. We love the city, the culture of this country... We felt home and welcome as soon as we arrived.
It took us almost a year to gather all the requested documents. In the meantime, we had released 2 EP’s with Yard Of Blondes and received a lot of media coverage. Finally, the time came to prove that we had our place as artists in the US among so many other talented musicians. How did we do that? We had to retrieve every single press article covering our music, our career, our awards, and our accomplishments.
We also had airplay. We knew our music was played on a few local radio stations, but still, we had to prove it. That’s when WARM was the most useful tool we ever had!!
Not only did we have a document showing each and every radio airplay we ever got with our song, but we actually found out that we were played in several countries and on more radio stations than expected! Thanks to WARM, we had the undeniable proof that our music was listened to and that we were worth being considered for such a prestigious visa.
*According to visaguide.world: "The O-1B visa does not have a cap, so anyone who meets the requirements is free to find a job in the US and apply. The US Embassy considers each O-1B visa applicant as an individual case, so if you are part of an organisation which has achieved recognition, you cannot claim the achievements for yourself, and so you do not qualify for this visa."
We used WARM for all our releases and used it again to prove to the US immigration that we were “extraordinary” musicians, as they call it, for our Green Card applications as well.
We are now proud permanent residents in the USA as well as professionals in the music business. Vincent and I grew and learned so much in such a competitive environment.
Since applying for a visa isn’t cheap, we had to work extra hard to save on major promotion, marketing, recording, etc. Music is an expensive passion!
That’s how we came to create our own little boutique record label and direct our own music videos; that’s also how I came to become a music PR. I have years of experience and developed strong relationships with a passionate network of radio stations, blogs, magazines, playlists curators, producers, and many more musicians.
Despite some disappointments and difficulties, our band Yard Of Blondes kept growing over the years, one step at a time. We were caught in a series of events that constantly delayed the recording of “Feed the Moon”, our long-overdue album to be released in February 2021; line up changes, financial struggles, and mental health issues, to name a few. It took us a long time to release the songs of our debut album, recorded 5 years ago, but finally, things seem to be happening.
We ended up releasing the first 2 singles ourselves in November 2019 (“You and I & I”) and the next one in February 2020 (“Lowland”); determined as ever and feeling strong given our solid experience. To our surprise, they immediately caught the attention of record labels.
Now that we signed to a record deal, the weight upon our shoulder is lighter. We don’t have to deal with immigration anymore (as far as I know!), and the 3rd single is on its way: “Do you need more?”
After all, what better time than a global pandemic and an uncertain election season with social justice movements to release a new track?
“There’s a sense of urgency”, says Vincent, the lyricist and frontman of Yard Of Blondes. “With everything that’s happening now, you want to make sure things go out before we all end up in a big explosion”.
Joke aside, this new track “Do you need more?” is carrying an important message as it deals with gaslighting as a form of oppression against women. “This form of emotional abuse is still common and we think it deserves more attention,”. Discover the song on Spotify. Find Yard Of Blondes also on Facebook.
Besides my musical journey, my personal new goal is now to help unsigned and indie bands get the attention they deserve with the budget they can afford.
I created a blog where I share all my experiences, my best tips, and how to promote your music yourself. I also started a new career as a freelance music PR, and my first clients include rock legend Billy Graziadei, music producer Tessa Ying, French filmmaker Antoine Combelle, and an amazing brand of socks designed to donate to the homeless CRU SOX.
I feel accomplished even though there’s still a long way to go. Starting a new professional journey towards others is so refreshing.
My advice: A subscription to WARM can be valuable in so many ways - promotion strategy, royalty collection, touring optimisation… You must get it to grow your fan base! Read my blog post: “How to Get the Most Out of Your Radio Airplay”.
At WARM we are very grateful and proud to have been able to help Fanny Hulard through her journey growing a music career. We couldn't thank Fanny enough for sharing such an interesting and cool story with us.
Fanny Hulard is an independent publicist, music career development coach and strategist, multi-talented artist, and creative. She holds a long and successful musical career, from renowned musician to Grammy member music professional, she’s also an author, blogger, video director, writer, and educator.
"WARM is the perfect platform to monitor radio plays globally!" - Matt Allen, Co-Founder of The Famous Company.
Discover his full WARM Story here.