Never too late for success: Buda musician combines social media and music to make dream a reality

Social media, music and dreams – a fan from Singapore, Shafeer Khan, includes Tom Meny’s CD, “On My Way,” in a picture of the city’s skyline. Meny, a Buda musician, asked his fans to use the CD in a photograph and then post it to Facebook as a way to market it to a wider audience. He also used a site called Kickstarter to raise the funds to record and produce the CD, which officially goes on sale Feb. 19. (Photo by Shaffer Khan)

by KIM HILSENBECK

Buda resident Tom Meny, 37, recently made a career change. As a helpdesk representative for more than 15 years, Meny felt his career was less than fulfilling.

“Nobody was affected by my work on a personal level,” he said in a recent interview. “I was tired of my dead-end nonfulfilling job.”

He grew up in South Austin, graduated from Bowie High School where he was a successful athlete, and attended Texas Tech for several semesters. He was on the football team for a season.

A few years ago, while working the night shift, Meny decided the time was right to do something new.

For Meny, who started playing guitar at age 10, something new meant playing his music to make a living. His ultimate goal was to put out a CD and perhaps play music full time – a big change from his boring desk job.

But he also knew marketing has a lot to do with the success of singers and musicians. He decided to combine his knowledge of social media with his passion of songwriting, singing and playing music.

“I realized that the music business has changed dramatically,” Meny said. “I felt like I knew some of the reasons for the change and felt that I had to think outside of the box in order to gain a following [of fans].”

Using social media platforms such as You Tube, Twitter and Facebook, as well as a crowd funding site called Kickstarter, Meny was able to produce a professional CD and reach a broad audience base. He has almost two million You Tube views and has sold 350 CDs; the official release date is still a month away.

One of Meny’s best marketing ideas was to ask anyone who bought a CD take a picture of it to post on his or her Facebook site. He also has the photos on his website. More than 100 responded to his request so far.

Fans got creative. In one, a dog has the CD in its mouth. In another, it’s in the snow. And in yet another, the CD sits in a Christmas tree. There are cute kids, pets, whiskey and a few racy shots as well.

Meny has much praise for his friends and family, as well as total strangers, who funded his Kickstarter campaign, which was created by some of his buddies. He needed the money to produce a CD.

“They funded a Kickstarter campain to pay for my CD in which I asked for $3,000.  They pledged $6,000,” he said, still incredulous. So he decided to make a bigger CD, with 10 songs instead of the originally planned five.

Along the way to his dream, Meney found some unexpected bonuses, such as meeting his musical hero and inspiration, The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard.

His music is a mix of pop, rock and acoustic numbers that focus on everything from relationships to living life with no regrets.

For Meny, the entire process has been a dream come true.

“My dream was to make a CD, not to become famous….and not to sell a million copies. The dream was to make a CD….so today I accomplished that.” Meny wrote to his fans on the day he finished recording.

Meny said he learned this nugget of wisdom as a result of changing careers and producing a CD, “If you believe in what you’re doing, other people will believe in you as well.”

His debut album, titled “On My Way,” will be available beginning Feb. 19.

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