The Lead Singer Of Alabama Shakes Just Won Instagram

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Besides having the best album of the year, performing with Paul McCartney at Lollapalooza and maintaining a non-stop (sold out) tour schedule, Brittany Howard, lead singer/guitarist of Alabama Shakes, took time today to help a fan learn one of her guitar riffs. Call it guitar lessons in the age of Instagram.

It all started 4 days ago when Kaitlyn Whiteside (@kait_whiteside), a 24 year old from Louisville, KY, Instagrammed a short video of herself playing half of the opening riff to “Future People” stating “Doing my best.” She tagged Howard (@blackfootwhitefoot).

Doing my best @blackfootwhitefoot. #AlabamaShakes #guitar #FuturePeople #gibsonsg

A video posted by Kaitlyn Whiteside (@kait_whiteside) on

And that was that. Or so she thought. Today, Howard posted a response video with a closeup on the neck of her guitar and finished the complicated lick for Whiteside gramming “@kait_whiteside here’s the rest”

@kait_whiteside here’s the rest   A video posted by Brittany H. (@blackfootwhitefoot) on

Whiteside regrammed Howard’s post with “Um, The lead singer from Alabama Shakes responded to my random little Instgram vid. R.I.P. Me.???”

Musicians complain all the time about how they don’t know how (or don’t want) to “use social media,” “engage the fans,” uh “give back.” This is a perfect example of how it doesn’t take much effort to not only make a fan’s day, but show ALL your fans that you’re not above them. You appreciate them. You’re in it with them. And you care about them, dammit. This video got the most comments of any post on Howard’s Instagram (including the photo of her singing with Paul McCartney).

Every artist at any level can learn from this. You don’t need to be a superstar to give back. Even if you have 10 fans, make one of their days. Word will spread. That being said, you don’t need to be the creepy, over engaged Facebook responder. Sure Like comments, respond occasionally, Retweet, Instaheart, but there’s a difference from giving back and giving up your life.

Why not run a contest: every fan who regrams, retweets, Shares or Likes (pick one) your latest video/photo/show poster/song you’ll throw their name into a hat and pick a random winner who will win a personalized package (in the mail… yes, snail mail). People love getting mail.

Or what about showcasing a Fan of the Month? Pick a fan who has been very supportive/engaged and message them for a photo and info. Whatever social platform you have the most traction on, post a photo of this fan and a mini story of how/when/where they became a fan. They’ll of course share it/tell everyone they know. But, above all, this is a nice gesture to show you care about your fans.

It doesn’t take much to make a fan’s day. Even a tiny gesture can go a long way. If Alabama Shakes wasn’t Kaitlyn’s favorite band before, I bet they are now. And will be for a very long time.

Photo from

14 Responses

  1. Angus Strachan

    Hey Ari, I like that post – such a simple gesture and what a great effect for all concerned. Beautiful.

  2. mixolydia

    Hate that Kait girl’s guitar face. And how is it that her inlay is fancier? Stupid rich entitled kids.

    And Brittany Howard rules.

    • Sarah Chong

      Why are people on the internet SO RUDE? Who cares if you don’t like her face? Who cares if she’s got a nice guitar?!

      Jeez. Check your privilege – your opinion on her face and possessions interests absolutely no-one and adds zero to the discussion.

  3. Wrong

    Wow.. who cares? “Won the internet, etc” is the worst

  4. Anon

    What these talentless hacks ‘won’ is nothing.

    They were gifted their success by their major label which posted astro-turf all over the internet in collusion with other big players like Apple/iTunes, which posted 400 fake positive reviews within 4 hours of the debut release, while removing all negative reviews for days, and the review sites were probably bought off as well.

    That’s how it works.

    • Ari Herstand

      ATO is an independent label. Did their label also buy up all the tickets to The Greek (and every other huge venue on their tour)?

    • some guy

      3 years ago Brittany Howard was a postal worker delivering mail…you have no idea what you’re talking about…I’m all for raging against the establishment, but you’re fishing in the wrong pond bro….These cats are as real as it gets….

      • Stephen

        Don’t feed the trolls.
        And yes, you are absolutely correct, The Alabama Shakes are as real as it gets.

    • Jessica

      Lol You’re one salty lad.
      Brittney happens to be my beat friend and I can attest to all the hard work she and the guys had to go through to get to this point. You’re bitter and we get it, but being sanctimonious and condescending while also being ignorant only makes you look like a fool.
      Go groove to ‘Gemini’ and get some good vibes in your life.

      • Anon

        Taste is taste, and if you don’t have any that’s your own damn problem. If you want to listen to chicken re-fried whiny white people doing ‘rootsy’ 70’s southern rock be my guest.

        Or you could just listen to lynyrd skynyrd with the rest of the trailer trash under your confederate flag.

        But spamming by huge corporations is, well, spamming by huge corporations– and THAT is how you truly ‘win the internet’

  5. dennis

    Well well well……you certainly are one happy fellow…..just remember , ONE MAN’S CEILING IS ANOTHER MAN’S FLOOR. How about ….if she wants to do what she does however she looks or has white skin, what good does your judgement do, except make you feel superior????