This is a companion piece to the one a bit ago on SONGWRITERS FESTIVALS. If you are a writer, artist, parent of those people or just someone interested in helping the arts, hate somethings about the current music scene or just want to be involved, this is FOR YOU. All else, skip away.
One thing anyone in this industry in any capacity hear all day, every day is:
WHO CAN I GET TO LISTEN TO MY SONGS?
I'VE GOT SONGS, WHAT CAN I DO WITH THEM?
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
WHO CAN I SEE IN NASHVILLE (NEW YORK, LA)
WHO CAN I SIT DOWN WITH TO GET ME STARTED?
HOW CAN I GET A MANAGER?
HOW CAN I GET A PUBLISHER?
HOW CAN I GET A RECORD LABEL?
HOW CAN I GET A PRODUCER?
That is the MAIN REASON that any one in the industry will not listen to ANYTHING!!!! Because the people that ask don't understand the rules!
ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME!!!!! (ARE YOU SERIOUS?)
The first thing to ask is
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR YOURSELF?"
THE DREAM VERSES THE DRIVE
Everybody has THE DREAM.
Everyone sees themselves on a stage in front of thousands of screaming people!
Everyone can see themselves on television, interviewed in People magazine.
Going to the mailbox to get those HUGE ROYALTY CHECKS AND PUTTING THEM IN THE BANK WHILE THEY HEAD TO THEIR PRIVATE ISLAND!!!
Yeah. That is the dream.
ALMOST NO ONE HAS THE DRIVE!!!! Here is the DRIVE.
A mid 20's singer/guitar player, playing 6-7 nights a week while working other jobs in middle Michigan. If he wasn't playing in a band, he was doing solo, duo, trio, sitting in with other bands, out constantly. WHILE DOING OTHER JOBS.
Once a month, leaving a gig at 2:00 in the morning after playing all night, driving with a friend to Nashville, working with me, going out and sitting in with other bands, writing up to four songs in two days,
THEN DRIVING BACK TO MICHIGAN TO MAKE A GIG THERE! And doing that continually.
And piling money back into his career, instruction, recordings, videos, photo shoots.
That is THE DRIVE.
That is FRANKIE BALLARD.
That is why he is a very successful Warner Brothers recording artist.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?
And this is what gets me. Most of the time it is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. I travel this country and in Canada, and have done hundreds of songwriter concerts in local venues, clubs, pubs, small bars, resturants, libraries, all kinds of place where someone is putting it all out there to support the local music scene.
Writers nights, open mics, open stages. They are every where, from someone like my friend Robert Spillway Baxter, and his "SPILLWAY BAR AND GRILL in Kentucky, or M 89 in Kalamazoo Michigan, where members of the Chili Peppers songwriters group do a monthly show, to California, Canada, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Virginia, West Virginia. Maryand, and so many places I can't remember or missed because they tried and couldn't keep it going.
YOU HAVE TO SUPPORT OTHER PEOPLE.
YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP.
If you get around LIKE MINDED PEOPLE, that is your first step.
And you HAVE TO BE GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO!!!
That is such a "DUH" TO ME!!!!!
There is a thing going on FACEBOOK called MASTER CLASS!
it is where all kinds of famous people, movie directors, comedians, screen writers, etc. all have online courses teaching what they do.
My favorite is Steve Martin, who is teaching comedy.
He says in his teaser:
" I get all kinds of people asking 'How do I get an agent?" "Where do I get my head shots?" "Where do I get a manager?"
"SHOULDN'T PEOPLE FIRST THINK ABOUT HOW DO I GET GOOD?"
DUH!!!!!!!!! GET GOOD FIRST!!!!
And I'll tell you sports fans. You don't get GOOD IN A VACUUM!
you can't sit around your living room or bedroom doing stuff on your own and GET GOOD! You have to have things to compare yourself too. Find where the BAR IS. Find out what you are made of! To find out if your songs can get people to PUT DOWN THE CELL PHONE!!!!!
You have to get around other people.
If you want to get on the playing field, you better suit up and be good. And you can't say "Hey my stuff is as good as what's on the radio!" Well guess what? THAT IS ALREADY ON THE RADIO! you have to be BETTER THAN WHAT IS ON THE RADIO!
And you are going to have to have a TON OF RELATIONSHIPS to GET YOU ON THE RADIO! Those aren't done in the comfort of your living room. You have to get on the field. Cause EVERYONE YOU NEED HAS DONE THAT VERY SAME THING!
So if you're not willing to do that, you might seek another hobby.
This one is not for you.