I think one of the biggest challenges about being a dueling pianist is keeping up with all the new music coming out.  Of course it’s important to know the never-ending list of popular tunes from yesteryear that will likely get requested, but how do you keep up when there is constantly new music coming out?  Even if you are listening to the newest songs coming out everyday, how can you tell if it’s like a 24-hour flu of music or a long-lasting pop classic in the making?  I’ve compiled a list of 5 ways that I find new music, and what indicators I use to tell if they’re worth the time to learn…

1. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Since Jimmy Fallon took over the Tonight Show last year, the show has experienced a resurgence in popularity.  The show also has a knack for inviting up-and-coming new artists as well as good old standby’s with new hits.  With all those new audience members listening to all that good music, chances are guests on the Tonight Show are bound to trend quickly after their appearance on the show.  Plus, many times Jimmy will end up playing a fun game with his guests, showing personality that can make an artist more likable beyond their music.  So far, it’s been a pretty reliable source for new music!  Find some of their recent events at The Tonight Show website.

2. Spotify Radio

If you get Spotify up and running and click “Radio,” it’ll generate songs based on the genre you pick.  Lately, I’ve been using “Pop” (note, not “Pop Hits.”)  The mix they have on there can sometimes go off track in the popularity category, but I’ve found it’s MOSTLY very new music, mostly quite catchy, and when they do throw in an older one it’s something like “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls… which certainly won’t hurt you to jam to once in a while. 🙂

3. The Children Are Our Future, and Can Apparently See It

Every once in a while I’ll get a gig playing solo for a children’s birthday party or pool party with kids attending, etc.  Every single time, the kids come up with requests I’ve NEVER heard of before, so I end up writing them down.  Sure enough, a few weeks later they’re being overplayed on the radio and they’re everyone’s favorite songs.  I don’t know how they find them… YouTube?  They’re just best friends with these artists?  I like to think I’m pretty up on my new stuff, but a few years ago, artists like Vance Joy, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, and Sia… yeah.  Found about them first from a kid between the ages of 6-15.  Kids are like the Nostradamus of popular music.

4. iTunes Search Engine

Ever try just going on the iTunes store and clicking in the search engine without typing anything first?  It’ll populate with recent trending searches.  Chances are, if other people are searching for it, other people are listening to it.  This is another hit-or-miss method, as sometimes people just all search for the same strange stuff all at once.  But it’s certainly worth a go!

5. Is It Stuck in your Head?

This, to me, is the most important question to ask oneself when trying to figure out if a song is going to blow up.  Are you humming along to it before the end of your first listen?  If so, you can bet everybody else is.  When it comes to Pop music especially, fans like songs they can sing along to, drum on the steering wheel to, and learn all the words to quickly so they can shout it at the top of their lungs with their friends.  Even popular rap songs these days have a catchy chorus with someone else usually singing so that if you can’ t keep up during the rap verses, you can chime in at the melody.  Science.

Felix and Fingers Pop

What are you listening to?  Have you got a method of your own for staying ahead of the curve?  Tell us about it!  Like Felix and Fingers on Facebook and share your ideas 🙂

To book Felix and Fingers playing WHATEVER genres you want for your next event, visit Felix and Fingers online!

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