Question:” Do you know the difference between a six week old puppy and a songwriter/artist/anyone trying to be involved in this business?”
Answer: “Eventually the puppy stops whining.”
WHINING. That is what we DO! (Ought to be a Geico commercial.). We make more excuses than Trump has detractors. We make a million reasons we can’t do something. Writers: “ I can’t finish songs…I don’t want to write QUANTITY, just QUALITY!”, I can’t find a writers night, I can’t find co-writers, I can’t find anyone to talk about music with, …”artists, “I can’t find any place to play, they don’t pay anything, they only want cover songs, nobody will let you play original songs…..”
Good Lord it is like that old Saturday night live skit, “THE WHINERS!!!!!” Awwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!
Well here is the little gentle “slap on the…A….I mean.. face…” MAN (AND WOMAN) UP!!!!! No one forced you to try and do this. No one twisted your arm. YOU wanted to create. YOU wanted people to LISTEN TO YOU….YOU wanted to spend the money for that demo, that trip, that conference. So GET OVER IT AND GET TO IT.
You don’t have any choice. If you have been given talents, or at least the drive to have talents, you have the
RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE THOSE TALENTS RELEVENT. So what to do?
#1. BUILD YOUR OWN COMMUNITY.
Find a place in your area where writers and artists congregate. Might be a music store, a coffee house, a writers night or open mic, a community center, a guitar pull (where you have to PULL the guitar out of someone else’s hand so you can play)
Help people promote and be a part of that.
Do pot luck dinners, house concerts, or meetings in your home.
Help sponsor an event or workshop.
#2. GET SOME PROFESSIONAL HELP.
Is there a local recording studio owner who might speak to a small gathering? A local entertainment writer or critic? A music store or venue owner who might have an interest in talking to like-minded people? Has anyone won or participated in a major song or talent contest? Is there a local top band or artist who might give a speech or informal talk?
#3. HAVE REGULAR EVENTS, WORKSHOPS, SHOWS.
Find someone you like and see if they will come speak to your group from Nashville, New York, LA. Many do their own workshops, and you might be able to get some enormously successful hit writers to your area. You might HAVE a local writer who has some experience, cuts, hits. Do some research.
#4. MAKE A TRIP TO A MUSIC CENTER.
There are three main ones in the US. New York, Los Angeles, Nashville. But there are also tons of satellites that have had musical success over the years. Memphis, Seattle, Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Chicago, Macon, St. Louis, Muscle Shoals, and countless other places that have had brushes with fame and success in the musical history of this country. And many other countries have similar places, Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin, etc. there are many all over the world. Up to you to research where YOU fit in. But GO.
#5. SEE WHAT THOSE SCENES ARE ABOUT.
Go to events in these cities. There are festivals, concerts, writers shows, open mics, local and regional, city wide events. Some you can submit to participate in. Some you have to just come visit. Nashville’s TIN PAN SOUTH is one of the best examples. But there are also FESTIVALS everywhere. The FRANK BROWN INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL, KEY WEST SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL, DURANGO SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL, MISSISSIPPI SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL, SMOKEY MOUNTAINS SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL. They are all over the place and growing all the time.
#6. JOIN AN ONLINE COMMUNITY.
Places like MUSIC STARTS HERE.COM, SONGRAMP.NET, JUST PLAIN FOLKS, SONGWRITER 101, NASHVILLE SONGWRITERS ASSOCIATION, BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc. all have some form of Internet presence. Research them and join as many as you can. Most people belong to many, and one will lead you to another.
Get busy. MAKE MEMORIES, NOT EXCUSES.
Marc-Alan Barnette www.marcalanbarnette.com