I resisted Instagram for a long time. I was a Facebook girl and was happy that way. After taking a course on Instagram marketing, I finally caved and started putting a lot of time and energy into building @sarahjanenelson. As an independent songwriter/artist, I knew I needed to embrace Instagram and once I did, I was hooked.

It started out slowly, but as I released my 5th record in 2020, “I’m Not Broken” my Instagram followers grew by the thousands. I was getting new fans from all over the world, people were buying CDs and t-shirts from my website, each Instagram post I made got 100-300 comments and 200-500 likes. People would DM me after listening to my music and tell me their life story about how “I’m Not Broken” resonated with them. It was amazing! I was spending 3-6 hours each day, connecting with my Instagram fans and growing that audience.

Instagram ads

I also spent money on Instagram ads. I’d had a lot of success with Facebook ads and expanding to Instagram was a natural shift. As a single mom, shelling out money to build my Instagram audience was a sacrifice, but I felt like I was creating something that would continue to grow and flourish over the years. I steadily gained followers and was thrilled to see the numbers climbing each day.

Instagram Impersonation Accounts

Enter, Instagram Impersonation Accounts. As @sarahjanenelson got more popular, people started creating fake accounts to look like mine. They used my photos, videos, and even text from my page. I still don’t understand what makes these people want to spend their time doing this? Are they benefiting financially in some way? Or is it just fun to mess with someone else’s life? The Instagram imposters would even message my fans, pretending to be me. My fans and I would report them, but they kept popping up again and again. Here are just a few of them.

How to get a blue checkmark on Instagram

I don’t know! After a lot of research, I realized that the next step to stopping the imposters was to get a blue checkmark. I seem to be a good fit for a checkmark as I have thousands of engaged fans, always follow the Instagram guidelines, have numerous impersonator accounts pretending to be me, and have a long resume of work as an actor and singer with a strong presence in the press and online. I starred on Broadway, toured Europe and the U.S., have numerous reviews from top newspapers (Chicago Sun-Tribune, The Miami Herald, Variety, etc…), and even have my own Wiki page. I have applied for the blue checkmark and been denied over and over. Instagram doesn’t give any explanation, so you just keep trying. Meanwhile, the imposters kept coming.

The day the music died…

It was the morning of the U.S. Presidential Election Day 2020, and I got DMs from two fans showing me new imposter pages that had popped up. I reported them as impersonating me and then went to do my “I Voted” post. With the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, I was quite excited to share that I had cast my vote. As I was typing the post, a Captcha popped up that asked me to click all the boxes that contained a stoplight. I did and suddenly I was told that my account was disabled with this message.

I waited for days to request the review from the Help Center but never heard back from anyone. I tried to sign in each day and it didn’t work. Finally, when I tried to sign, I was given the option to file a dispute.

When I filled out the dispute, it said that I had violated community guidelines because I was impersonating someone. Wow. I was shocked and confused. I still am. I have never violated community guidelines. I don’t get political. I don’t have any nudity. I am a real person who sends real messages to other real people. I even had ad Instagram ad running at the time I was shut down. Does Instagram think that an imposter account would be a longtime ad customer? My only guess is that these imposter creeps reported me a bunch of times that morning claiming I was impersonating them. Here is a message an imposter account sent to one of my fans that day.

This imposter sent a link to ANOTHER ARTIST’S MUSIC! They must impersonate so many different people, it gets confusing for them. You can see how my fan is playing along and trying to get info for me and then he sent me these screenshots.

How happy this imposter must have been to see that I was disabled that day! I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is connected to me getting flagged as an imposter since this account was very active the day I got deactivated. This is a new account with hardly any posts or followers. How I am the one who was deactivated is beyond me…

I regret building my business on Instagram.

I warn anyone against building a business on Instagram because at any moment, for absolutely no reason and with no explanation, they can shut it all down. I built something really good. My fans are still sending me messages anywhere they can find me (personal profile, Facebook, my website) and saying that they miss me! Each day I was posting a photo or video and they would look for me. I often wrote long captions with inspirational or philosophical ramblings. My followers would comment and I would comment back. It was something that was meaningful for me and for them.

Now it’s gone and as the days go by with no response from Instagram, I’m losing hope that I will ever get it back. I grabbed these screenshots from my website Instagram feed and they’re the only memories I have of something I spent years building.

I’m not writing this blog post to be bitter or angry. I honestly feel a little dumb for investing my time and money into a company that has no customer support and uses very inefficient methods to do their customer and account management. I could see if this was a free account and they don’t have time to take care of me, but I’m a paying customer. What was I thinking?!

Building my Instagram audience was a waste of time AND money.

I wonder if they’d ever given me the blue checkmark, maybe the attack by the impersonators could have been prevented. Not sure. I just wanted to share my experience since I know I’m not alone. Many of my fellow female country artists who have built tremendous followings have been deactivated. There is only one way I’ve heard to get the account back up.

It’s all about who you know…

The artists who have been shut down wrongfully and gotten their account back up went through a publicist or record label. I may try to do that, but it seems wrong that Instagram lacks customer service so badly that I would have to spend more money to get a simple misunderstanding taken care of.

What’s next? Instagram alternatives…

That brings me to my final question… what are the alternatives to Instagram? Maybe I need to use all the time and energy to post my photos and thoughts on this blog so it’s something I actually own and have control over. I would miss the amazing reach I got with hashtags on Instagram but why build something and pour money into an account that can be taken away for no reason in a moment? On my @sarahjanenelson account, the imposters have won. The real Sarah Jane Nelson (actor/singer) is deactivated.

Thankfully, I have a thriving Facebook page with 15K+ fans. I have now shifted my focus to that more. Facebook doesn’t have the same problems with Impersonation Accounts. I don’t think I’ve ever had an imposter there. They have support for their ads as well. If you’d like to follow me there I’m at www.Facebook.com/SarahJaneNelsonMusic

What’s your experience?

Feel free to comment below and share your experience with being deleted from Instagram for no reason. Or maybe you found out a reason you were deleted. Please share! If you ever find a solution or a way to contact Instagram, please let us know in the comments. I threw away thousands of hours and now I’m trying to figure out what’s next…

When I set out on the journey to release this record, I knew that it would be an uphill battle. I didn’t have money for a PR person to pitch my album to journalists. I was told that, without PR, I wouldn’t have a chance for any decent press. As a single mom, independent artist, I didn’t have any choice but to send out email after email and hope that someone listened.

Today, is a very special day because American Songwriter, a publication I love and respect so much, is releasing a feature article about my new record! I can’t express how overjoyed I feel.

Thank you to Tina Benitez-Eves for writing this beautiful piece and believing in my music!

Click here to read the American Songwriter article!

I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to The Rocking Magpie, a UK based music site that surprised me today with a lovely review of my record, “I’m Not Broken!”

I emailed my EPK to Jack Kidd of Lionheart Radio a couple of months ago and didn’t hear back from him. Then this beautiful review showed up today! See the article below:

SARAH JANE NELSON
I’m Not Broken

Powerful, Passionate and Insightful Songs of Break-Up and Redemption.

Nashville based, single mum of two Sarah Jane Nelson is a new name to me and probably to most other music lovers here in the UK. But, don’t let that prevent you from not giving her more than a second glance at this review of her new album.
Fact is, Sarah Jane is a revelation and delivers a coherent set of songs that reflect her recent past and how she comes to terms with a broken marriage. However, what unfolds through the songs is a resilient, determined and brave lady who has delved deep into her soul to write and record 11 fine tracks, plus a bonus of an acoustic cover of The Backstreet Boys finest from over 20 years ago.
Don’t though expect spite and vitriol.
Yes, I can hear pain, humiliation and sadness but it’s more the facing up to reality with a vivid honesty from a fighter determined to rebuild a life. This set of songs project a person who’ll damn-well make sure she bounces back. The opening track “Break our Hearts” has some sweet violin from Andrea Young plus a haunting pedal steel guitar from Smith Curry; behind a vocal duet that could quite easily be Faith Hill and Tim McGraw; it really is that good.
Gone” has what is almost unique on country records these days; a wah-wah guitar inter-twined with pedal steel and banjo. But, let me stress, it works.
We then get a mid-tempo feel from a slightly more light-hearted “Dragged” where Sarah Jane tells us “you gotta let go, or you’re gonna get dragged”.
I really liked the opening line to “Her or Me” where we are told that “Whiskey is a woman, she says the sweetest things, One sip and you’re ready to dance”.
Whilst the guided missile lyrics of “I Only Cry at Night” hit the target, smack bang on the bulls eye.
If you were to push me for my favourite track, then the up-tempo fiddle, banjo and bottle-neck guitar of “Reap What You Sow” would probably be my preferred choice. It’s actually the chorus punchline that resonates with me, with Sarah telling us what she really, really thinks of her ex and his new partner:
He’s a bag of dirt and you’re the hoe”.
Wow!
Getting over the trauma of a marriage that went wrong (which sadly is a facsimile of her experience as a child via her own parents split) is the crystal clear theme throughout.
Nevertheless, don’t let that put you off, this is a Country album after all and a damn fine at that. Excellent songs containing lovely melodies and reflective, touching words.
The title of the album is blatantly apt, as it is plain for one and all to see that Sarah Jane Nelson is well on the way to being mended.
Don’t just take my word for it though, ask our Head of Operations (HOM) in our household, she is a huge fan of the aforementioned group of established female singer-songwriters in my final paragraph, and it is she who has commandeered the album and I strongly believe that I’ll struggle to get it back now.
Musically, Sarah Jane has some of Nashville’s finest providing a full and interesting backing that ensures a wide spectrum of instrumentation. The early years she spent in Broadway Shows undoubtedly weren’t wasted and vocally we hear an extremely warm, clear and  strong voice.
If you like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea or Alison Moorer and her sister Shelby Lynne then you can add another name to the list.

Released 26th June 2020
BUY HERE: https://sarahjanenelsonshop.com/
Review: Jack Kidd aka “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com 

My song, “Every Other Weekend” is about being a single parent and sharing parenting time with your ex. It’s an unusual feeling to have so much love for your children, but spend time away from them part of the time.

Even with a 50/50 split, you end up having every other weekend and it took a lot of adjusting for me when I began my divorce journey. I hope this song makes other single parents feel like they’re not alone.

I’m also very grateful that Americana Highways, a site I enjoy very much, did the premiere of the video.

Click here to read the article from Americana Highways!

My new record is filled with inspirational and motivational songs about breaking up and moving forward in life. “Reap What You Sow” is not one of those songs. :) It’s a humorously confrontational song to the mistress, and it felt like the perfect single to release on Valentine’s Day.

I directed the music video and used Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Madison, Tennessee as the location. Jeremy Burchard was the cinematographer and actors James Fuertes and Elisabeth Donaldson did a fantastic job playing the husband and mistress.

I am thrilled that Wide Open Country included “Reap What You Sow” as one of the top songs you need to hear this week! Being mentioned alongside the likes of Tenille Towns is a HUGE honor for an indie artist like myself!

Click here to read the article from Wide Open Country!

After 5 years in the making, it’s time to begin the release of my new album, “I’m Not Broken,” and I’m thrilled to kick it off with a premiere in Wide Open Country! This song is a very personal account of a struggle I faced and overcame. I hope that this song reached everyone who needs to hear it, and I’m so honored that Bobby Jean Sawyer of Wide Open Country wrote such a lovely piece for the premiere!

Click here to read the full article on Wide Open Country!

Please comment below to let me know if this song resonates with you. Let the journey begin…

Much Love,
Sarah Jane

Where do we find inspiration?  Joy? Gratitude?  Sometimes I get stressed out and negative and then something will remind me of the beauty and LOVE that makes life worthwhile.

The other day, I had been working too long and was feeling particularly burned out and anxious, so I headed out for a walk around my neighborhood.  I was walking really briskly, and then this caught my eye…

It was a little heart sticker turned upside down with some dirt on it.  There was something about it that made me smile, so I took this photo with my phone.  I continued walking and soon came across this…

It was a heart shaped hole in the sidewalk!  How cool!  I snapped a photo and continued walking. A block later I saw this…

So pretty right?  I love the red brick it was sitting on.  By this time I was feeling like a little kid on a scavenger hunt – excitedly looking at the ground as I walked.   Just a bit down that block I saw this one too…

I noticed that my anxiety had melted away in marveling at these simple little gifts of nature.  My mind started taking stock of all the beauty that is right in front of us – beauty we can’t see because we’re so busy thinking negatively.  And then this…

How stunning is this one?  I guess it’s old chewing gum in the shape of a heart!  By this point I was really feeling the LOVE!  Kept walking and sure enough…

It had rained earlier that morning and this little wet spot looked like a heart!  If you back away from the picture you see it even more and that’s how I saw it from a little distance. I love how subtle this one is.  As I walked along pondering that one I realized that sometimes love is more of a whisper than a siren.  A whisper that guides the best things we do in life.

As I rounded the corner to my apartment, I saw this one.  The leaves were just sitting there like this and the whole thing was getting pretty amazing at this point…

After my 30 minute adventure, my mindset was totally changed.  I went from feeling on the verge of an anxiety attack to coming home energized and positive.  Taking a walk always turns around my mood, but the little hearts along the way made me extra joyful.  I walked up my apartment stairs and on the wall of the building I noticed this…

It was a TINY bit of paint from the trim of the building that was shaped like a heart.  It was only a 1/4″ in size so I never noticed before.

Today, take time to notice the beauty around you, and though all life’s challenges, you’ll be reminded that LOVE really is all around us.  And see if you can find some hearts around you too!  I bet you’ll see them…

*If you have photos of hearts you’ve discovered, post them on Facebook and then post the link in a comment below so we can see!
** Feel free to share this post with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook.  I’m going to start writing more blog posts and would love to build my mailing list.  If you’re not signed up just put your e-mail in the box to your right and be sure to check your e-mail to confirm  your subscription.

Love,
Sarah Jane

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I’ve never been a plant person but I have a spectacular rose garden in my front yard. I can’t take credit for it (our landlord is the one who cares for them) but I’ve grown to adore them so much. As the spring has sprung, I have marveled every single day at the beauty of the new roses I discover. Surprises in every corner of the yard keep opening up to me. I’m in awe of the yellow, lavender, red, coral – all different sizes and scents.

These days are so precious and fleeting. Happy moments with my little Mateo age 5 and Rosey age 7 – delicious snuggles, enlightening talks, and so many priceless moments. I want to bottle up the minutes and make them last forever, but that’s not how it works. Taking pictures is the only way I know how to stop time. And so that’s what I do with the roses too.

They bud and bloom and I take photos.  Photos that show them in all their glory, in their peak of splendor, and then they bloom full and begin their process of passing away. It’s interesting that they smell the very sweetest as they begin to wither.  I put my nose all the way inside and sniff each time I pass. I can’t get enough, and then they’re gone. New roses pop up.  New colors I’ve never seen before, brightness and sweetness…

I guess this garden is here to show us in the most glorious way that life is in motion, nothing lasts, everything changes and moves forward. My life has had thorns. Sometimes the challenges and heartbreaks overwhelm me, but overall, in the big picture, there is so much to be grateful for. Let us all treasure the moments when life is gloriously in BLOOM.

Below you’d find pics of my front yard roses. None of the photos are retouched! Just natural beauty, frozen in time, forever in bloom… Leave a comment below if you wish. I’d love to know that someone is out there listening.  Also feel free to share with a rose-lover (or a life-lover) who might enjoy this post.

Love,
Sarah Jane

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My first ever BLUES CD is for sale! Yeaaaa! After years of playing music with legendary bluesman, Michael “Hawkeye” Herman, this recording means so much to me. It’s a simple back porch style blues jam that features all the classic blues songs that have shaped me as a musician and as a person.  Thank you to Hawkeye and Irving for sharing their talents on this project!

Visit my shop for downloads and CDs of this and all my albums: https://sarahjanenelsonshop.com/collections/buy-music/products/wild-women-dont-get-the-blues

Thanks to all my music fans for your support and encouragement. Now order your copy today!

Love,
Sarah Jane