Self-promotion….self-promotion for artists….a very difficult
function of our career journey with networking, making sure our names are
associated with our talent and performances, conversing about ourselves and
always creating a personal narrative that will sell, sell, sell. From afar we admire artists who fly through
this process without self-doubt. We try to imitate them or learn to do what
they seem to do with ease. Yet, we all
come to acknowledge that self-promotion, though it is a necessary part of our
business, is a challenge.
November 14, 1926, a letter from Gena Branscombe to Mr.
Austin at Arthur P. Schmidt Company in Boston:
“I’ve an appointment with Mr. Schipa – this Wednesday – am
showing him a manuscript song – and if you will send me on the following songs
(as I’ve none here) I’ll take them in also.
“There’s a Woman like a Dewdrop”
“Hail Ye Tyme of Holiedayes” “Three Mystic Ships” “At the Postern Gate” and “Happiness.””
Mr. Schipa was the world renowned tenor, Tito Schipa
(1889-1965). He was known for having a beautiful
lyric line in his voice. Though his
voice was not a large one, he was heard to the back of any big opera or concert
hall in which he performed. He was
equally at home singing opera and concert repertoire. Schipa was one of the highest paid classical
singers of his day who also loved his celebrity life style.
Ever the self-promoter, somehow Gena Branscombe was able to
make contact with Mr. Schipa. She may
have had a friend of a friend who helped, contacted someone with his management
company and maybe by direct contact.
She created a time to present her songs to this world class
singer. Research into Schipa’s concert programs shows no indication that he
performed Gena’s songs. Together they worked on her songs on Wednesday, November 17, 1926. Her November 19, 1926 letter to Mr. Austin
acknowledged. “Had a fine session with Mr. Schipa.”
Gena Branscombe seemed to have a knack for self-promotion
for she knew the only way to have her music performed was to make contact with performers. And, that she did with great
determination. BRAVA, Gena.