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  • Annette Dawm

Top 10 Blogs of 2017

Hello everyone! The day has finally come to share the Top 10 Blogs of 2017! I have been planning this since the day I started! I created a spreadsheet (ooh) to keep track of everything. By the time you read this, there will be 76 or 77 blog posts, including this one. The numbers here are rounded off because sometimes people are creepy and go back into the depths of my Instagram and like a photo from many weeks or months ago, so these numbers are always changing.

I used many platforms to share my stories on and each one gets a different number of views so I add them all together to get the final number. My spreadsheet has columns for: Facebook (number of people reached/views), Twitter (number of impressions/views) Instagram (likes), Bitly (number of link clicks) and Wix (number of views). Some things do really well on Facebook while others get a huge number of views on Twitter. The numbers very rarely match across the board so I take a sample of everything.

First up are my Honourable Mentions. These stories were either in the Top Ten for a long time or just missed it.


This one was in the Top 10 for the longest time and I was sad to see it go. When this picture was taken, Chris Labelle of River Town Saints yelled, "I see Eric's bum!" I had never had an event happen on my actual birthday and I was able to attend Keith Brown's magic show (he bought my birthday cake) and I also watched Eric Ethridge and River Town Saints' soundcheck.

Well, look at that. I suspect that Eric's nice teeth kept him in the Top 10 for a long time haha. This was the first time that I actually met Eric, despite seeing him before. We became fast friends. He handed me his phone and told me to find myself on Instagram so he could follow me.

This was one of the more recent "Market Days" that I went to. I had never met Brittany Brodie or the Hunter Brothers before and yet I was able to talk to them like we were old friends. Everybody was extremely nice. Brittany liked my Facebook page afterwards and shared the photos. Within seconds of posting the link on Twitter the Hunter Brothers liked it (but I guess there's five of them, so someone would probably be monitoring social media).

I did not expect this one to take off like it did. It had over 2200 views and missed the Top 10 by less than 200 views. Abbey Stewart and Beamer Wigley each shared this blog on their personal Twitter accounts as well as their "@AbbyandBeamer" account. Abby also shared this on Facebook and I noticed that family and friends of theirs shared it too! So I felt like it kind of exploded. (I think their careers will too.)

TOP 10

Anything Dallas Smith related seemed to do well on my blog this year! :) I went to see Dallas, The Cadillac Three, Andrew Hyatt and Shawn Austin on October 29, so everybody was dressed for Halloween! I met Lauren Alaina which I never thought would be possible. I loved her so much on American Idol! Andrew and Shawn shared my photos on Twitter which helped this blog get over 2400 views!

I didn't write this one in hopes of lots of views. I wrote this one to say goodbye to a dear friend and to let people know what a great person Helen Frook was. Then after her friends and family shared it, I thought to myself, "Holy crap, Helen! You're going viral!" Helen meant so much to me. She was like another mom. She looked after me very early on until I was about 10 years old and those memories have always stayed with me. I often think about how the Frook family was there for me various times, especially when my dad didn't really want to be a dad at times and he would drop me off at Helen's instead. You couldn't ask for a better place to go or nicer people. I think a lot of people felt the same way about Helen and her husband Dave. I got a lot of nice comments from her relatives who remembered me being at the house. My favourite comment was from Helen's daughter-in-law, Robyn who said that Helen would have been very proud that I got a picture of her in front of her favourite store! This blog had over 2500 views!

This one absolutely deserves to be in the Top 10. I get chills every time I read it and sometimes I can't believe it's my story. I posted nearly 80 different things on my blog this year, and this has to be my favourite. Without RTS, there would be no blog at all. I will always be attached to them. Things got a little exciting after I wrote this post-- mainly I made people cry. I cried too. For some reason RTS had spent a lot of time in London this year, so I had taken a lot of photos and written a lot about them. I felt kind of like a stalker but I really wanted to say thanks and not just to them. I felt like I was sending Chris Labelle something every day and I didn't want him to get mad at me, so I apologized to him before I sent him this and said, "but this one's important". I didn't know how he'd react but luckily he said, "I love everything you send me." I waited for his response while he read it (in a McDonald's parking lot) and he wrote back, "Fuck. You're making me cry. You are." I was also recognized at concerts by random strangers after I wrote this blog. It had just over 2500 views!

This was hands down one of my favourite days ever! I love Dallas and Petric so to have them all come to the market for free was insane! Last year, Dallas came to the market on a hot, sunny day and about 300 people showed up. They were not prepared. so this time, it was announced that only a few people would get a photo with Dallas and Petric and they would be chosen from a draw. Luckily, it was a cold, wet day this time, so maybe only 30 people arrived. I was still pretty worried that I wouldn't get picked though. I had my old picture with Dallas in my hand in case he might be able to sign it when he came in, but he didn't get to me at that time, so I thought that was that. After Petric performed I wasn't paying much attention and then all of a sudden Dallas was standing in front of me and asked if I wanted him to sign my picture. Um... Yes please! Then we took new pictures and he gave me a hug! (We ended up being on the news!) Then it was decided that since there weren't many people, everybody could get pictures with them. Win-win. Petric ended up sharing this blog and wrote nice things about me. It got over 2800 views!

Photo courtesy of Warner Music Canada.

I found out I would be interviewing Brett a week after I started my blog! I was like, "That's it. I'm done. No more." It took awhile to come to fruition though because he was on tour at the time. I thought for sure it wasn't really going to happen. I remember when I was going to send my questions for Brett, I must have sat at the computer with nothing but the email address typed in for an hour. I was actually shaking. I hadn't been that afraid to do something in a long time! I had a friend who was friends with Brett's manager and he was going to ask for me. Then he was like, "No, wait, you do it." I think my friend knew it would be more rewarding that way. When the article was finished, Adam Gonshor from Warner Music Canada said I did a wonderful job! BX93 shared this article and helped it get over 3000 views!

I love magic-- especially card tricks! I don't even care if I think I know how a trick is done, I love watching the delivery to see how one magician is different from another. Originally, this was going to be a straight up music blog, but then I realized I wouldn't have enough content to post twice a week. Plus, how many music blogs are out there? Tons. I wanted to do something different and interview as many creative people as possible, and Keith Brown is one of them. I've seen Keith many times now and I'm still in awe of what he does. So I was really excited to ask him some questions and see how his mind works, since the majority of what he does is something I don't understand. (It must be magic!) Keith has a huge following on social media which helped this article get just a few more views than the one about Brett Kissel!

Photo courtesy of Blake Berglund.

Blake Berglund is not a name you hear very often and that's unfortunate. Blake went on a search to find real country music, and in a lot of ways, find himself. He has worked extremely hard as a musician but hasn't always been as widely recognized for his efforts like other young country performers today. However, Blake is not one to be put in a box and he continues to do music his own way. I have only encountered Blake in person once (though we technically had two encounters in the same day) at a Kid Rock concert of all places. Blake saw me before the show and after. The thing was, he wasn't there to perform, he was a fan! That's his dedication to all kinds of music. He came from Saskatchewan to London, ON to see Kid Rock and The Trews and I just happened to be there! Blake recognized me as the creator of Schwartz Abdul. He had recently autographed a copy of Schwartz and had him sent back to me. (If you don't know about Schwartz, he's my version of a Flat Stanley.) We missed The Trews coming out on stage because we had to take a picture. Then after the show Blake found me again and gave me his CD. That was just one day, and Blake will tell you we've been friends for years now because that's the kind of person he is. Blake and his family and friends shared this article which helped it get over 3200 views!

This was technically a photo album on Facebook and not a blog, but that was because I took hundreds of photos-- like this one of Jason McCoy! My website allows up to 21 photos per gallery and so Facebook is a much easier tool to use in a case like this. Another advantage with it being on Facebook was that I could tag individual artists or their Facebook fan pages. This meant that people from all over would be able to see my photos if they were friends with or fans of each performer. I had never taken my "professional" camera to a show other than the market before and I was surprised I got away with it. These were some of the best pictures I had ever taken and it showed. Altogether they had over 3500 views and many celebrities and their family and friends liked and shared the photos! I can't wait to go back next year!

One benefit of having my own blog is that I can interview whoever I want (as long as they reply). Previously, I had done interviews for another website and they had a cut off as to how much work experience a person could have. If they had more than eight years of work experience, then I wouldn't be able to have their story featured on this other website. So had I been still writing for them, Aaron Pritchett would have been out of the question! In 2016, Aaron celebrated his 20th anniversary in the country music industry! I first met Aaron when I was 18 years old and after that he always knew who I was. (Maybe because, as he always points out, his ex-wife's name is Annette!) For whatever reason he remembered me, it worked out in my favour. I sent an email asking his media contact if I would be able to interview him and they seemed to hesitate. So I emailed them a few more times. Then finally they offered for Aaron to phone me in order to complete the interview! I wish I had done this, however my apartment flooded around the same time and people were coming in and out to fix things. So I wasn't able to promise that I would be waiting by the phone. Aaron answered my questions by email and he seemed to really enjoy the end result! Aaron later told me that his team asked if it was okay for me to interview him and he said, "Yeah! I know her!" Aaron and his son, Jordan shared the article across multiple platforms causing it to reach over 4300 views!

This should come as no surprise as I have often given updates on how well this blog has done. At the same time, this has always been the biggest surprise. This was my very first blog under my own name thanks to Chris Labelle and somehow it shot to over 6700 views! Most of this took place in three days! I don't know how it did so well, other than to say River Town Saints must have a lot of fans out there who read this! I very soon became addicted to watching the numbers rise and it became a little unhealthy to be honest. Then I got a reality check when my next blog, about some artwork I made only had 247 views. Easy come, easy go.

Everyone that participated in my blog this year, including myself did this for free. There was no monetary or even physical value to what I had done. It literally added up to numbers on a screen. But I'd like to think I opened some doors for myself, even if they were just small doors, like Hobbit Holes. I'm not exactly sure what those doors lead to or where they will lead, but I must be doing something right to have posted nearly 80 stories and to have ended the year with over 90500 views altogether! Even though Chris' was the most "successful" story and I will always be partial to it, every story was its own success. At the time of writing this, I never had a blog that had under 238 views. This is just the first time I have really taken in the numbers as a whole and it's kind of like Keith's magic. It's something I don't quite understand-- but I like it.

So, I know I already wrote a thank you letter to River Town Saints, but here's one last note for Chris. I would also like to thank everybody who participated in this blog so far-- whether you were featured in something that I did or if you just took the time to read something. These numbers would not exist if people weren't looking at my work. Thank you! Also, BX93 deserves a huge thank you! It was not mentioned earlier, but they retweet every single country music blog that I do and they are also the reason I get to meet musicians almost every week!

Firstly, Chris! Oh my God. Look what you started. You started something so big for me. I can never thank you enough for that. Like I said, I can't prove that it has any real value but you saw something there. You knew I could do this before I did. I got rejected a lot of times, most notably by Atlantic Records, but I still think it was cool that they acknowledged me when I wrote to them. Most people just ignored my emails. Because of that, I focused on taking pictures for awhile instead of the interviews and I know I got better at taking them. I'm so glad my pictures are in your homes and that Jeremy fought to keep his, even though I could have printed a new one.

I still get nervous when I email media contacts asking to interview my favourite artists. I know each interview could be the last because people are notorious for not writing back. However, having the River Town Saints' name attached to mine helped me look a little more credible when I asked about Brett, Then having Brett added to the list made me a little more credible when I asked about Aaron. So this is something you helped me build. I don't get as sad now when people don't write back because I know I have these interviews and many more in my pocket. The blog has taught me to set goals and to be okay with it if I don't reach each goal. I can't help it if I know someone saw my questions on Facebook and they didn't respond. I can't make them participate no matter how cool it would be if they did. I especially can't help it if they said they would answer my questions, or that they would email me first, but then it never happened. They probably didn't mean to lie. They just didn't have the heart to say no. But so many people said yes! Thank you for being the first one.

Lastly, I believe you still owe me a t-shirt.

Thank you,


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