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Start Your Business Success Stories

Erika Jayne On the Business of Topping the Billboard Charts

music, musician

When Erika Jayne, a dance music songstress who's had six number one Billboard hits, found herself on the cover of Billboard magazine last week, just in time for the Grammy's, it wasn't the result of a brilliant stroke of good luck. Instead, it was the culmination of a lifetime of hard work, planning and reinvention. It turns out, being a pop star isn't that different than being an entrepreneur.

The artist, who hit the dance club scene with 2007's "Rollercoaster," which quickly hit number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart followed by "Stars," "Give You Everything," "Pretty Mess" and "One Hot Pleasure," doing the same in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively, on various Billboard dance charts, including the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

"This has exceeded my expectations wildly," the Atlanta-bred, Los Angeles-based singer said. "You dream of that, but you don't imagine it actually happening. I never thought I'd see drag queens dress like me or that I'd be headlining gay pride festivals either. It's beyond flattering. And it's so satisfying to know that I did it on my own with my own record label. It just makes me want to push it further and keep evolving and developing as an artist."

[Michael Jackson: King of Pop and Entrepreneurs]

Jayne's road to success wasn't that different of many entrepreneurs or startup founders. She tells BusinessNewsDaily about her road to fame and how she dealt with rejection along the way.

BusinessNewsDaily: How many years did you work at becoming a well-known musician before finally getting some recognition?

Erika Jayne: I've always been a performer. When I was three years old I used to put on shows for my family in the living room and I’ve been going ever since. The last three years, though, have been terrific. It's great that more than the four people in the living room are listening to my songs now.

BND: Did you have to endure a lot of rejection along the way?

E.J.: Of course, without rejection the journey wouldn't be as rewarding.

BND: What was your mental approach to dealing with that and continuing to pursue your dream?  

E.J.: You have to believe in yourself and not allow rejection to break your spirit. No one has it easy. At the end of the day, I love what I do and was always going to fight for it.

BND: Did you have to change or refine your approach to your music or your marketing of your music in order to get noticed?

E.J.: This business is fluid. I think every artist to some degree has to evolve professionally and artistically. The only one who can afford to remain the same is Frank Sinatra.

BND: Did you ever consider giving up on pursuing your music professionally?        

E.J.: No! I love what I do too much. I make a point to stay focused and now allow myself to be discouraged.

BND: How difficult is it to manage your "brand" and make sure that you stay true to yourself while still appealing to the public?     

E.J.: The only thing you can be is yourself, people respond to that. As an artist your own unique "you" is what stands you apart from the rest, in a great way. I'm over the top and always will be.

BND: If you had it to do over again, would you handle your journey as a musical entrepreneur any differently?

E.J.: I honestly wouldn't change a thing. I've learned so many valuable lessons from both good and bad experiences. These lessons are all part of the journey so I’m able to look back now and embrace them.

Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.

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