Spotlight: Lydia Caesar

We recently caught up with Lydia Caesar, our fabulously talented Open Mic Fridays hostess who has been bringing her amazing personality, industry insight, and experience as a singer/songwriter to the past two seasons of our twice a month showcases.  

Lydia is an ASCAP award-winning songwriter and has performed as an opening act for artists such as Patti Labelle, Ciara, Brandy, Robyn Thicke, Trey Songz, and more. 

Meet her now.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as an artist and on-air personality?

Man, what a loaded question! I could seriously spend the whole interview answering just this question alone, but I will make it as short as possible! 

I’m a singer/songwriter and I absolutely love performing live. My personality has always caught the attention of every crowd I get in front of, so that’s what has opened doors as an on-air personality and host. I’ve had songs placed in commercials, TV shows, and even films. 

I’ve also performed all over the U.S. and internationally. 

I honestly feel like everything that I’ve accomplished as an artist/personality has come from me simply showing up for myself. Saying “yes” has opened so many doors. 

Coming up, I have 2 albums “Caesar” and “Queens of Hearts” and I’m gearing up to release my latest body of work “Legendary Love” on December 9th. 

What did 2020 and 2021 teach you as an artist?

The crazy year of 2020 taught me how to PIVOT! It also kept me grateful that we remained healthy and found ways to make money! 

Like every other artist, I couldn’t perform live on stage, so I turned to YouTube! I started a series called “The Sassy Wife” and also just started putting out content that would help other independent artists. My channel quickly got monetized, which was awesome. 

I also really dug into selling song hooks online. It helped to make up for some of the money that I wasn’t making, while unable to perform live. Learning how to pivot is key.

What piece of advice would you give to an artist first entering the music industry?

Do it YOUR way on YOUR terms!!

When I first started, I wanted a record deal so badly. I wasted a lot of time doing what “Labels” and “Execs” told me to do. Things that didn’t exactly match who I was, but I did them, and in the end my deal fell through when the label I was about to sign folded.

I share that to say that now I am approaching my career how I want to do it! I just signed an incredible songwriting deal with DJDTP/Universal Music Publishing. My latest music video for my single “The Ones We Love” was added to BET Soul, I’m producing my EP release concert, and so many other things.

I’m doing it MY WAY this time and I remind you to not doubt yourself! You’ve got this!   

How have you seen the music industry evolve and what changes are you most excited to see happen?

I’d say the biggest change has been social media. 

When I first started doing music, Twitter was really all that there was. Now you can literally be in front of people all day every day with the power of these phones in our hands and all of the various platforms.  

Another huge change has been going from song sales to song streams. I love how accessible our music has become through streaming, but I hate how little the artists get paid. It’s such a catch 22.

However, I think I’m most excited to see how artists get creative with NFTs and how they’ll use different strategies to sell directly to the fans.

The streaming models are killing us financially, so I see many artists doing different things creatively to get the fans to pay them directly. I know for me personally, I’m going to be doing an album that won’t be uploaded to streaming services; I will sell directly to my supporters. 

I’m at the stage right now where I’m figuring out exactly what that’s going to look like. So stay tuned! 

How did you get involved with Music Forward?

I got involved through my dear talented friend Meleni Smith a.k.a. Polly A! She invited me to be an industry guest for Open Mic Fridays and I guess it went well because a few weeks later she called me back to be the host!

What do you enjoy about hosting Open Mic Fridays?

I love how you never know what you’re going to get from week to week. In the best way!

There’s so much fresh undiscovered talent out there and every single week I’m surprised by at least one of the artist’s level of talent! I also love the conversations with the industry guests. The knowledge that they give is worth so much, such an amazing opportunity.  My only hope is that the talent is paying attention and taking notes!

What was your experience participating as an industry expert vs. hosting Open Mic Fridays

Oh man, being a host you’re the boss! LOL. You literally control the vibe, which is a huge responsibility but I love it! 

As an industry expert it was different because I got to really tap into sharing my experiences. I love sharing the things that I’ve learned so that is what made being the industry guest so special. 

In this month of gratitude, what are you most grateful for at this time?

I’m grateful for God and my faith. This is a tough industry and if you’re not really grounded it can consume you. My faith has allowed me to stay the course. I’m getting ready to release a new EP called “Legendary Love” and I have a release concert coming up on December 9th and my music video just debuted on BET Soul. All of  these things make my heart full and I am extremely grateful. 

I’m also excited to be going to Houston with my family to spend Christmas with my sister-in-law this year! Whoo!! 

What are you looking forward to most in the new year?

I’m looking forward to growth and new experiences! I already have a Valentine’s Day show planned for February 12 at “The Dark Room” here in St. Louis. 

Super excited about that. I’m also excited about hosting new gigs, and releasing new music!

How does music move you?

Music moves me to tears sometimes, extreme laughter, extreme sadness… 

Sometimes it’s just the background to my day, or the background to an event that I’m at. Music is literally woven into every part of our lives. I count myself blessed to be able to create something that helps people to FEEL. Music is truly my forever love.

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