Recording Artist Advocate: Relationships are the most important thing...

I would say that no-one has you on speed dial, but I mean that just because your out there doing shows... don't expect your phone to ring. 

When we had the radio stations we would tell clients that every time you make an impression on a potential client it builds on the previous one. You have to be constantly telling your story to break through the noise. It's the same with music. People have so much music coming at them they can't listen to it all. They have to feel a connection.  

That usually doesn't happen on it's own. You will have to make it happen. 

That may be someone they respect saying you are the real deal. It may be the way you come across in an interview. It may be seeing you again live and getting the same great show.

It's going to mean stepping up and hitting all the marks... performance, recording, interviews, and working the march table. Hey, if it was easy everyone would do it.

What you will see is that while you keep doing things right, other artists will make mistakes or just quit trying altogether. I've seen it so many times; they just can't get out of their own way. A little success goes to their head and they won't do the work to go higher. In the meantime, you just need to keep stacking good on top of good. Eventually it pays off with more bookings, merch sales, and media coverage.  

Sometimes it just comes down to the last man standing. Keep making those connections, building those relationships, and building your career.


Recording Artist Advocate: I'll say it; Secret Societies got some things right.

We all read the stories and watch the YouTube videos; Secret societies control the world - you have to be a member to be a success.

Don't believe it. But I'll admit there is some truth in there.

Imagine you want to get in good with a venue owner or booker or media person. You have to realize a lot of them know each other. They are part of an interdependent group. It's not a secret society... there are no secret handshakes that I know of, but they will be more comfortable with you when you are a member of their club - so to speak.  

Before you get upset think about this; you don't consider someone a fellow musician just because they bought a nice guitar. You evaluate them usually based on what someone else says, and you can be pretty hard on newbies. 

The people you want help from do the same thing. 

For every good show you may get a point. Do a lot of great shows and there are more people who can vouch for you. But if you have a bad night or do something stupid like show up late or get drunk, take away several points. Remember, you are trying to have enough people say good things about you to be in their "club". It's a vetting process. Everyone has to go through it.

The only shortcuts are getting to the people who have the most influence. But even then you have to be careful. Never make anyone feel like you are elbowing past them. You want as many people as possible to feel they played a part in your success. 

When someone asks about you, what are they going to hear? What kind of impression did you make on the people you worked with already?

Will they want you in their club? 





Recording Artist Advocate: When the levee breaks... Hope it's soon.

I spent some time talking with an artist who is concerned that his carer isn't taking off like he had hoped. We wen't over everything from how he preforms on stage to how he books to how he presents himself to promoters and media folks. It turns out he's got a good handle on it.

But you can do everything right and still not have success. Well that is, it may not happen as fast as you would want. And that may be a good thing.

I mean, if there was a formula you could just do, everyone else would do it too. The success you want would get so watered down, it wouldn't be success anymore.

Here's the analogy I use in these situations: Your work is like water behind a dam. Write a good song and the level goes up a little. Do a good show and it goes a little higher. Do a great show in front of the right people and you could breach the thing quickly. Bottom line, bookers, promoters, and media folks get so many artist vying for their attention they have to live behind a dam. So many people want their attention, it's like a firehose coming at them.

Every time you do something that gets his (or her) attention you stack up some water. Let time go by and your water evaporates. Go long enough and you start over from scratch.

I left him with this: Everything he said about trying and not seeming to get anywhere I have heard from very successful artists too. But they didn't give up. One day several little dams broke over and got the attention of someone up the chain who could really make a difference.     

A booker wants acts who get booked again and again easily. Be that band. Make a point of meeting the venue manager. Make a good impression. Always be thinking about the next booking. 

Promoters want the same thing. Show up a little early for interviews and be interesting and entertaining. Do an interview people talk about... the one that gets played over and over again. 

Let em' know you appreciate the opportunity to be on their show. A sincere Thank You can go a long way. Get enough people who can help you and your work pays off with more gigs, more pay, maybe even music in a movie or commercial. They don't just hand that stuff out. It has to be earned.

Make yourself valuable to them and they'll promote you out of self interest.

Nothing wrong with that.    





Recording Artist Advocate: Bad music by committee...

Last week I talked about how the great songs are written by one person. I realize there are song writing teams, and that's the way it's done now. But has anyone else noticed how bland so much music is?

I have to walk a fine line here. I say plant your flag. Do your thing. Find your audience. I stand by that, but I also say to know your audience. Sometimes you can reach more people smoothing off the rough edges. That may mean less profanity or just not being so obvious with your message. 

How many times did you hear a song later in life that you used to listen to when you were younger? Do you notice there was a lot more to it than what you originally thought.

That's a sign of a good song.

Write those songs. You can do it. Take advice, but in the end it's yours.  

Well, take the advice of the people who know what they are talking about.  

Recording Artist Advocate: All those guitars are made to be ------ sold.

Go into a guitar store. Look at all the instruments. Some of the best guitars are being made today. You can get better guitars today for less money than you could in the good old days. 

Still, when I handle a great guitar from the 50's or 60's there is something there. (I don't know what it is, but it's undeniable.)

But that's not the point of this entry. I hate to say it, but most guitars will not be used to write the next great song. Most will end up in closets or hung up on the wall to collect dust. The next group will play covers, and the next will be used for very average music. 

But the 1 percent remaining? Thats where the "magic happens". Those belong to the few real artists who will touch your hearts and speak directly to you with their music. That is the music that rises to the top. That's the music that lasts. The music that defines a generation. 

It's not the guitar. They are just made to be sold. It's the creative spark in the mind of one person. 

You know when lightning strikes. When it happens to you grab your phone or anything that records and capture it immediately. Then come here to RoughWood Studio and make it into a record.