Miami born singer songwriter Bryant del Toro started street performing for fun. At 19, he and his friends would take out their instruments and play, hoping to make enough money to buy a pizza. Quickly he went from staple Lincoln Road Act to recording artist and now has his second album coming out at the end of this year. As a young artist myself, I couldn’t help but wonder: how does one go from street performing artist to touring artist? I decided the only way to get to the bottom of this was to ask Bryant himself. A phone call and a lot of nerves later, I got some answers. While there is no secret formula to his success, the witty advice he offers to aspiring artists is definitely worth the read.
M: How long have you been street performing?
B: Ok, so, the street performing thing was actually pretty interesting. I don’t do it anymore but I did it- I would say a year to a year and a half with a permit from the city of Miami beach on Lincoln Road.
M: How did you go about getting the actual permit?
B: Ok, so, you go to the Miami beach convention center and sign up saying that you want to be a street performer. They have these designated areas and it’s literally a lottery. You could have the best spot or the worst spot, it’s all a matter of luck, right? You can go to a spot that isn’t yours if it’s vacant but the moment that that person comes and is like “Look, this is my designated spot” you have to move. I got really, really lucky and my spot was right across from what used to be the Britto shop. It was, like, dead in the center of Lincoln road. Everyone had to pass through there.
M: That’s awesome!
B: Yeah, the one thing about street performing that was really, really invigorating was that you need to-These people are not here to see you. They are there to go shopping, they are there…so, if you can grab their attention, you need to keep them. You need to grab them by the collar and be like “Look at me, look at me!” So, as an artist, or as a performer, it really forces you to give your all and to go above and beyond.
M: Do you see street performing as a valuable asset for young artists, and what advice or tips would you give them starting out?
B: Yes I think it’s valuable not only to artists; I think it’s valuable to a community. It gives the community that sense of “Oh I don’t have to go to a bar to listen to some good music, I don’t have to pay to get into a nightclub. It’s readily available in my community”. And, I do think that it just adds culture to a community. For the artist, like I said, it forces you to really give it your all. People will see you and think “Eh, that’s ok” and you’ve got to keep going. It really forces you to get your chops together, to be better, to try harder. It forces you to be on your A-game. Again, there are a lot of people that see you and are like “Oh, he’s good,” and then keep going. Why do you deserve their money? Give them a reason to give you their money. That’s the difference. Anybody can be good. You have to be great.
M: Yeah I imagine it must be pretty tough to captivate them for long enough to keep them standing there.
B: And to open their wallets, even more so.
M: I hear you have an album coming out… what are your plans for promotion as an independent artist?
B: So, the first album did very well. It was very, very well received within the local community. But, I need to place myself on a larger platform. A few of the mistakes I think I made on the first one were not fully immersing myself in promotion. I should’ve done more interviews. I should’ve paid somebody to help with promotion because social media can only get you so far. It is important; I think there is a lot that can be done on your own. But, I do think there is a level of respect when you are on Miami New Times. I think when you get a call from the Sun Sentinel, just speaking hopefully, if you get a call from a California radio station, it just gives you another level of credibility. So, I would say I’m going to amp up promotion, but that’s my number two. My number one is to tour. I did not tour outside of Florida for the album, and I think for particularly the type of music I make, Miami is not the audience for that genre. So, I think once I hit Georgia, once I hit North Carolina, once I hit Philadelphia, New York, Boston, those cities, my fan base will grow. So, I would say number one: tour, number two: promote.
M: Awesome. Well lastly, the big question: where do you see your career headed?
B: You know what? You’re going to laugh at this, and I know this is kind of a funny answer. Yeah, I could win a Grammy, that’s great. Yeah, I could be on MTV. You’re not a superstar until you’re on Sesame Street. You are not a superstar until you get that call from Big Bird. I only say that because Elton John, Willy Nelson, John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Katy Perry, Pharell, Stevie Wonder…all these guys were on Sesame Street. I think that’s really important because- again, I’m super pro-child programming, and I love the kids, but I do think in order for you to get invited to such a staple show like that, you have to be a master at your craft. So, I see myself sitting next to Kermit the Frog either doing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” or “The Rainbow Connection” on Sesame Street. I see myself touring. I think most importantly, and this isn’t as a musician, this is as human being searching to be righteous and full of substance, I just want to be happy. I see myself being happy and successful.
LEARN MORE AT BRYANTDELTORO.COM
About the Author @mxrandasun :
16 year old singer/songwriter and theatre student at Miami’s famed New World School of the Arts, Miranda Del Sol, is the daughter of a professional songwriter/producer/musician from Cuba who exposed Miranda to many different genres of music as well as the culture of being a working musician since early on. Now an aspiring young artist and songwriter in her own right, Miranda forges her way into the new generation of the music industry, honing her skills and learning to grow into her own kind of creative and working professional in the Miami music scene. You can see the young singer as part of the choir lead by ALL ACCESS IDA creative director, Liza Quin & produced by founder David Frangioni, in the ELP LEGACY Concert DVD: Pictures at an Exhibition which out now. Check out some of her music on her YouTube channel by clicking HERE.