I am involved with and go to a LOT of shows with newer or less experienced writers and artists, who get up on stage, ramble on insesstantly, never seem to make a point and their SONGS do the same thing. When you are PART OF A SHOW, you have to keep that in mind .
Particularly, when you are in the middle of the week, where people have to get to work, have to be somewhere the next day, tourists from out of town who want the "Nashville experience" but not a non-ending diatribe about things that really don't have anything to do with anything.
And if you are one of those waiting to play your songs, the last thing you want to be besieged by is someone that has a "TEN MINUTE INTRO AND A TEN MINUTE SONG! (My apologies to my friend Rob Wolfe, who has a version of that phrase in a song.) I have been walked out on by thousands of people in my career, but not because of me. Because the show dragged SO LONG before I even got onstage. Many times I have been the "feature" but if the entire audience leaves before you get on, it's not much fun.
So this is for ALL you writers, artists, wanna be's.
TIME YOUR STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A well delivered song and presentation (set up, lead in) etc should be NO MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES TOPS! you should TIME WITH A STOP WATCH how long you are talking. It should relate to your song. It is fine on letting people know the story behind the song, that is what people want to hear, but it can't exceed the song.
Leave out extra, turn around's, (the places between verses and choruses) guitar solos that aren't there (some people hear the solo in their heads but just play to dead air! STOP IT!!!) and time your songs in the writing. If they are getting close to the four-five minute mark, THEN DON'T SAY ANYTHING!!!!
You are PART OF A SHOW, NOT THE WHOLE SHOW!
Think about your audience, the other people on stage with you, THE HOST!! And hey, if you TALK LESS, you GET MORE SONGS!!!
You are an AMBASSADOR FOR SONGWRITING. You are performing in front of people who don't know you, friends of other people there, etc. GET TO YOUR POINT!!!!
They rarely care about long involved stories that don't have anything to do with anything!
Now, there is a bit of a caveat here. Pro and established writers, do have a little more leeway in that they are doing songs that people have heard on the radio, people have heard before, etc. And those audiences are COMING for that. But that is most often people and songs THEY ALREADY KNOW! It is one thing to have a show featuring familiar songs, and the writers giving the back story on the songs.
But for newer people, you are really not there yet. Got to earn that time.
But overall, LESS IS MORE (cool song title, yeah, I wrote it)
Think about what you are saying, think about getting on and off the stage, be in tune, be defferential to the hosts, make sure they want to INVITE YOU BACK!
And BE AWARE OF OTHERS!!!!
The general idea is MAKING PEOPLE LIKE YOU ENOUGH that they will tell others, spread the word about you, and BE INVITED BACK to do MORE SHOWS. Keep that little "mental stop watch running in your mind." And guess what?
If you do this right, and LEAVE PEOPLE WANTING MORE, you will find yourself working up to being the feature, having the venues that book you for YOUR MUSIC, pay the cover to hear you do what you do. And at that time,
YOU CAN GO AS LONG AS YOU WANT TO!
Something to strive for.