MUSIC OUTSIDER’S, INSIDER
By MARC-ALAN BARNETTE
This Is going to be written for people from outside Nashville, or those trying to find out about the “inner circles” that they are going to have to be involved in to advance in their careers. Most are pretty much common sense, like “BE POLITE” but sometimes need to be reminded. Let’s go.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Most people preparing for a career in music (whatever that is these days) are always concerned about the “Big time.” All they seem to talk about is “getting deals”, being on television, getting on YOU TUBE, etc. It’s always good to be aware of all that, but most of it is like the 16 year old kid just learning to drive, wanting to immediately jump behind the wheel of the Daytona 500.
“SLOW DOWN THERE TEX!!!”Yeah, they’ve been in a car with four wheels and an engine, but it is a VASTLY DIFFERENT WORLD!
There is a saying in Nashville that if someone can’t conquer their hometown, “WHY WOULD WE WANT THEM?” That is true. So you need to work at conquering your home area first. Participating in the odd contest, Karaoke night, open mic, are all fine and part of it. But don’t think that is a career. A career begins when you can command an AUDIENCE of your own. Butts in a seat. Selling food or drinks for a venue. Bringing in money. That is a career.
Things to do before:
LEARN YOUR JOB.
Identify what it is you want to be. A singer, writer, musician.
BE PROFICIENT AT YOUR INSTRUMENT.
Even if you are not trying to be a great player, learn to play something or HOOK UP WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN. Learn by DOING.
GET OUT OF THE LIVING ROOM.
While Social media, the Internet, etc. can be a TOOL for what we all do, they will never take the place of actually BEING THERE. Pressing the flesh, meeting people. You are a POLITICIAN as much as ANYTHING. VOTE FOR ME. VOTE FOR MY SONGS. VOTE FOR MY PERFORMANCE.
BE ON TIME.
Always let people know they can depend on you.
WORK OFF THE STAGE.
A career is judged 85% away from WRITING, PERFORMING, RECORDING.
It is almost all NETWORKING (making friends), and doing the ground work to advance a career.
Enunciation is the number one missing element of artists. THEY understand themselves, but no one else might. Being CLEAR in the songs you write is also ESSENTIAL. Study the craft.
FIND A MENTOR.
Just like music or vocal lessons, finding an adviser who knows more than you is helpful. Many are free. Finding older musicians or writers is part of COMMUNITY BUILDING. If you ARE an older writer or musician, helping guide someone younger gets YOUR OWN EFFORTS out there. Performing in a band or around others is valuable experience in this. But sometimes, if you have to PAY for certain lessons, that is fine too. Just check out who you are dealing with, find out their track record, get references and be specific in what you are looking to find out.
ENJOY YOURSELF. But REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCE.
Once you have started the ball rolling, building your following, devising some strategy’s, you can think about those brass rings. But NOT UNTIL. Now GET TO WORK!!!