Following the recent release of Dre Pao’s debut single “WithoutChya”, the Hamilton-born songwriter sat down with ‘Hamilton: City of Music’ editor to offer independent artists some tips to help maximize the reach and exposure of their independently released single.

Since its release on June 3rd, 2017, “WithoutChya” has accumulated over 230K views on YouTube and over 1.5 Million views on Facebook, while harnessing radio play in Canada from coast to coast — including here in Ontario on Z103.5, Toronto and 91.5 The Beat, Kitchener. For more information on Dre Pao, please visit

Justin Figs photo of Dre Pao singing

Dre shot the video in Jukasa Studio’s digital mix theatre.

Tip #1: Use Social Media Micro-influencers and Instagram DMs

Social media is one of the most influential tools of the new generation. These days, having a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is almost just as important as the quality of the record you are putting out. A great way to help increase your social media page’s reach is by collaborating with other artists or influencers that have roughly the same amount of followers as you do. Getting support or shout-outs from social media influencers with large followings can be pricey. However, taking the time to direct message (DM) artists or influencers who are in the same sphere of influence as you are is a great way to share networks and expand your audience. Reach out to these individuals and offer to exchange posts about one another on Facebook or Instagram. You may also propose to give one another a shout-out on an Instagram story. Instagram stories are also very valuable and reach a large organic audience (*Be sure to tag your city’s location in your story in order to reach a larger audience!*) What is great about exchanging posts with another artist is that both parties are equally gaining a new audience and it is FREE! 

*IMPORTANT*: Be genuine, be personal, and don’t copy and paste! Take the time to build relationships with people and be sure to reach out to people you sincerely believe in!

Tip #2: Create An Experience For Your Audience (Single Artwork, Music Video, Lyric Video, Promotional Content, etc.)

Dre Pao (right) teamed up with Toronto rapper IllVibe on “WithoutChya”. Photo: Justin Figs

Recording a song and simply throwing it up on Soundcloud or Bandcamp is just not enough. If you are looking for your single to reach a large audience and potentially compete with some of the country’s top independent artists, it is important to take the time to create an experience for your audience. When there is a story behind the single, a piece of art to go along with it, and a video to guide listeners through the meaning of the track, you immediately help build an emotional connection to your song. By making your song multi-dimensional you also increase the likelihood of someone sharing the project on their social media platforms. Music videos or single artwork is much more likely to be shared than an audio link. Although this step will require you to have some sort of a financial budget for your project, the cost is actually quite affordable! It is worth being patient, gathering some funds, and making sure that all the right pieces are in place.

*IMPORTANT*: I recommend checking out if you are interested in creating a high quality lyric video or visit for music video and marketing assistance.

Tip #3: Your Content Is King — More Than Just “The Single”

Once the single is released, it is extremely important to  consistently be releasing new promotional content in order to keep the buzz alive. There is a lot that you can do on your own, that is quite inexpensive, to create your own promotional content for your single. Creating different versions of your new single is a great way to start. Create an acoustic version, sing the song acapella, or maybe even sing the song at a local landmark. Creating video content around ideas like these are very inexpensive and can even be shot on an iPhone. Remember, use what you have — you don’t need to be fancy! What is truly important is being consistent and openly showcasing your personality through your art.

Photo: Justin Figs

Promotional content doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related to the new single specifically. Vlogging (Video-Blog) and creating “a day in the life” videos are a great way to show your audience an intimate side of your personality. Don’t be afraid to get personal and show the struggles and obstacles that come along with being an artist. Sometimes documenting your journey is a lot better than having to come up with some extravagant or over-thought video productions. We tend to love the music of an artist a little more when we also connect to them as a person.

Tip #4: Google Adwords And Facebook Advertising

Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are increasingly changing their algorithms to make it more difficult to reach a large audience organically. Their goal is to influence individuals who are interested in reaching wider audiences to promote their pages through advertising and boosting posts. Google Adwords is the best online tool for advertising YouTube videos, while boosting posts directly on your Facebook Page is the best way to increase your Facebook views. This style of online marketing is great because it allows you to get specific when choosing the demographic you wish to target — from age and location, to interest and online activity. The best part about this kind of marketing is that it targets real people in your area that can potentially be new fans of your music. DO NOT attempt to buy views or boost views with bots. Facebook and YouTube have gotten extremely strict and will almost certainly remove your video!

This video is a great way to begin understanding the basics of Google Adword marketing:

*TIP*: If you choose to advertise your video as a YouTube Preroll (aka: those in-video ads you see just before a YouTube video begins), remember that a viewer can skip your video after 6 seconds! On YouTube, a video must be viewed for 30 seconds in order to register 1 view. With this in mind, if you choose to run this type of ad, remember to not have a long and dragged-out intro — get to the point!

The artwork on the poster for the single was by a friend, Kara Zuccato

This video is a great way to begin understanding the basics of  how to boost a Facebook post:

*TIP*: Get really specific when filling out the “interests” part of the advertisement form. Include the names of similar sounding artists and the behaviours of the audience you are targeting — such as “guitar player” or “live music fan”.

Photo: Justin Figs

If you would like to learn more about Dre Pao, follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @DrePaoMusic, or ‘Like’ his page on Facebook at If you have any questions for Dre, you can reach him at: