Having created Gareth Coskey’s (https://garethcoskey.co.za) I decided to write about our positive working experience.

It was about a month ago when I first spoke to Gareth about linking all his social media channels under a website. I explained to him what Finbar was capable of doing in order to further grow his audience. He understood exactly what I was saying and agreed almost immediately.

However, I had never built a musician’s website before. Challenge accepted!

Coskey isn’t just a musician. He is a rap artist. This meant that his website had to have street credibility. His fans would want to see a website that best describes him as a rap artist and I had to prove it. His website also had to prove to his fans that he is, after all, a real person as well. I got researching musicians and rap artists websites. I wrote down all the ideas I wanted to put on Coskey’s website.

A few days later, I presented my ideas to Coskey. He agreed with my direction and added in his own ideas. Coskey sent me photos to use on his website. I searched for that one photo I could use to build the theme around and found it.

Coskey’s positive energy drove the project. I was more excited about this. Coskey was already using social media to great effect. He had over 5000 followers on his Facebook fan page. What he was lacking was a website. Why? Up until now, Coskey was recording and marketing his songs using Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud but he wasn’t making any returns on his investments.

I linked the videos from Coskey’s YouTube channel. Next, I added his music from his SoundCloud channel. After adding in all the other sections, I started styling the theme. Yeah, I made a one-of-a-kind theme for him. Using shades of grey and black with the photos Coskey sent was really tricky. Yes! A black and white website is very smart and very powerful. However, too much of either colour could kill the theme I was creating hence grey softened the website but still kept it credible.

After completing my initial theme, I sent Gareth the hyperlinks for the development website. Coskey rang me and was very impressed by what he saw. Then he asked me the question I wasn’t expecting, surprising me, “Can we go live with this website, today?”. I was impressed but explained to Gareth that we were far from finished.

We then spoke about launching an album with the launch of the website. Coskey agreed before I could finish asking him the question. We got working. Over the next few days, we researched online music distributors. We compared their costs and their services.

We agreed on a music distributor. We started making more calls to each other. Sometimes we spoke late into the evening discussing what has been completed and what we still needed to do. Coskey then chose his songs for his debut album, ‘What It Look Like’. He uploaded his songs and created his album.

Afterwards, Coskey chose the 24th March 2019, to launch his album. It took us a week to complete the theme for the website. Now we had 3 weeks to complete the most important part of the website, Coskey’s bio.

I asked Gareth to write his bio for the website. His draft had about 300-400 words. I received his bio the next day. I replied by putting in questions where possible. I explained to Coskey that I needed to more information and to tell his fans “Who you are and why you are different”. He agreed and wrote to add more information. Again, a few days later I received an updated version.

I decided that we needed to talk about his bio and that it needed a lot more input than Coskey had written.

We grew up in the same neighbourhood but went to different schools. I understood what he was trying to say in his bio. His bio needed a smoother flow to it. We discussed the structure of the bio. Coskey agreed.

I started by asking him real questions about his personal life. Basically, I needed to know about his life’s journey up to here. I took lots of notes. Asked more questions. Asked loads more. Scribbled in more notes. Where he lived? When did he move? Why did he move? Who he married? Why he got divorced? Who he dated? We spoke about his children. His parents. His grandmother.

Before our call ended, I convinced Gareth to let me write his bio. I had never written a bio for anybody before and was asking myself “what the hell am I doing here?”. I decided to read what Coskey had written. I read it over and over again. Each time I read it, I added in more information. As I wrote more, I found myself needing to ask Coskey more questions.

We spoke about the gaps in his story. I could tell Gareth was getting frustrated with all the questions. His answers were from the memories he had laid to sleep for many years. Some were hard to speak of.

We agreed that we wanted the bio to be a positive read. We didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. His bio would be for all to read and enjoy. I finally completed my first draft. I read it over and over again correcting my grammar and tenses. I moved paragraphs up and down. Swapping sentences in paragraphs. Re-worded sentences.

I sent my first draft to Coskey. His reaction was priceless. He phoned me a few minutes after reading his bio, with near tears in his eyes saying “I was reading about my life and your words are so true”. “I can’t believe how well you have written about me”. I was moved by this. Gareth explained that there were certain changes. We agreed he will make the necessary changes. I would reword his sentences to ensure that the flow of the bio was not broken.

On Sunday morning, website launch day, we were still busy writing and making changes to the bio. Our distributor had sent all the links for iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. I quickly added these links to the images. I made the final changes to the images and signed off on the cover of the website. The album cover we wanted to use was not accepted by our music distributor. We agreed it was too late to do anything about the cover and that we will use the existing image instead.

We had one more section to complete and we would be ready to go. Yeah, the bio. So where were we with this bio? We were 99% there. I was as nervous as hell. I made the final changes Coskey submitted and I edited his input in order to improve the flow of the bio.

We agreed to enliven the website an hour after the signed off bio was received from Coskey. However, the bio we initially started with only had just a few words. Our final version had over 3000 words. The section we custom built to fit the bio just could not be married into the section of the website. I asked for another hour 15 minutes before the hour was up. I tried every trick in the book to make this section look like it was about to tell not just a story, but Coskey’s. The images had to perfect.

The more I changed the background, experimented with fonts, the more problems arose. I had to do something and fast. I had no choice. I added a new web page to the website. The background with all it’s photos fitted in perfectly. However, the text wasn’t clear enough to read. Using so many photos with varying backgrounds meant I had to blur them enough so as to make the text pop. I finally finished the web page and sent Coskey the link to his bio.

Coskey was ecstatic. He only asked that I add in 2 more photos of people that were close to him. I searched through the photos he mentioned and found them. I quickly added these photos to the background image and uploaded the new background image.

After Gareth read the bio and agreed to the background image, he instructed me to go live with the website. At 5:30 pm I completed the website. I called Gareth and told him that I will enliven the website before 6 to make sure all the links were working correctly. Gareth agreed that he was ready to post on Facebook. Of course, he was holding the braai tongs in his hands agreeing to what I was saying at this time. He had his family and close friends at his home waiting for the website and the album to launch.  I knew we were both nervous. Who wouldn’t be?

Up until this point, only a few people had seen the development website. Coskey didn’t show anybody, close to him, and told them to wait until it’s launched. Just after 6 pm, Gareth posted on Facebook launching his website and his debut album.

His post reached over 2000 people with an hour. Musicians congratulated Coskey for debuting his album and his website. His debut album was bought by his fans alike.

I sat back and relaxed for a few minutes after the launch and savoured the experience of working with Coskey.  What a wonderful experience. A true leader and a devout believer. Our working relationship continues today as we continue to market the website, grow his fan base and other things I can’t quite tell you.

Stay tuned!

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