Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

January 08, 2007

Remembering Laurie Z

I just received some sad news -- nearly a year late, unfortunately. But it's not too late to pay tribute to an independent musician who touched a lot of lives during her too-short life.

I never met Laurie Z in person, but we began corresponding with each other back in the late 1990s. She was an indie artist who reached an impressive level of success. We shared a passion for music and independence and empowering other artists to create music on their own terms. I wrote about Laurie in one of my Guerrilla Music Marketing books.

Erin Graffy de Garcia wrote a wonderful article about Laurie Z's life for the Santa Barbara Independent. You can read the whole thing here.

Here's an excerpt:

By the time she was ready to launch her solo career, Laurie had seen many friends get burned by their recording deals, and was determined to put out her albums herself. "My parents absolutely do not support me making music my career," Laurie told me at that time. Her father would have preferred her to go into business. As it turned out, she did -- melding both her musical gifts and business acumen by launching her own record label, Zebra Productions, Inc., Laurie Z. was not afraid of taking on a male-dominated industry to pursue her passion. The epitome of determination and perseverance, Laurie thoroughly researched all aspects of production, including promotion, distribution, radio airplay, and album pressing.

Laurie toured the country, sold more than 20,000 CDs, was featured on the cover of Keyboard magazine, and made a splash on many new age music charts. She started sharing her success tips through live workshops and a video called The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Releasing an Independent CD.

Laurie passed away in February 2006 after a two-year battle with lung cancer. (She was a non-smoker.) I searched my email yesterday and found a message from her from May of 2005, just 9 months before she died. I got chills reading it.

A friend of Laurie's was quoted on the tribute page of her web site. This sums up her life best:

"If asked, Laurie would probably tell you that her gift to the world was her music. If you ask me, her gift was teaching. She taught us that no obstacle is too great. You can be anything you want, if you just don't give up."

posted by Bob Baker @ 9:21 AM   1 comments


At Jun 19, 2007 5:03:00 PM, Blogger sam said...

I just found today (June 19, 2007) that Laurie past away. I've had the pleasure of working with her at Midi City in the late 80's and crossing paths with her again at a Borders in Cerritos sometime in the late 90's.

I will always remember the music I heard her playing at the store as well as her concert at Borders.

Ironically, at her concert we talked and remembered about another Midi City employee who passed away - Philip Taylor Kramer.

Sam Garrard


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