BEING PREPARED FOR NASHVILLE STYLE
WRITERS NIGHTS,OPEN MICS, AND AUDITIONS By MAB
In the current era of music, one of the most common events for performer and writer wanna be’s are OPEN STAGES, OPEN MICS, SONGWRITER’S NIGHTS OR SHOWCASES, as well as the dreaded AUDITION process, for everything from reality shows, contests, and the first and continuous steps of a performing music career. And you get ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION. So best to prepare. Just like a sports team getting ready to go out on the field, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.
So you get invited to a party in the music business, or a conference/workshop, a #1 party or other music industry function and you want to do the right things at these events, but what are they? Research the people that will be at the event in advance – if it is a #1 party, find out who are the writers and research the writers and publishers to learn a little about them in advance Arrive on time for the event – to make the most of the networking.
I’m in my eighteenth year of teaching BMI’s Nashville Songwriters’ Workshop. In those classes I’ve listened to 40 to 50 songs at least 10 times a year. I did some math: I’ve reviewed more than 8,000 songs—and that does not include the songs I critiqued in the master classes, song camps, and workshops I’ve taught throughout the world.
I continually talk about KEEPING IT REAL when it comes to approaching the music industry. Most people who come into this really have very little idea of what is achievable and what is improbable. And it is difficult to be encouraging, while at the same time warning people about jumping off cliffs due to overreaching expectations. But there are ways to be productive and move forward while being aware and cautious. Like everything, music has to be approached carefully and methodically, because it is going to TAKE A LONG TIME no matter what you do. It is designed that way.
Throughout my 20 years as a professional songwriter, I’ve noticed there isn’t always a large difference in talent level among creative people. Why, then do some songwriters seem to have an over abundance of fans buying their music while others struggle to sell the first song? The answer is there is not a huge difference in skill most writers pocess, but there is a little. And that extra 5% makes a BIG difference. Skilled songwriters share some common mental habits. The good news is that these habits can be adopted through practice.
I walked into my first writers round on my very first trip to Nashville eighteen years ago. There were four songwriters on stage in a line, and everyone was playing and singing together. I loved the energy and the way everyone's participation lifted the song. I've been to a whole lot of songwriter nights since then, and seen a lot of magic moments like that. But if you play writers nights, you know that unless there's a band doing the round together you're generally going to hear one person play at a time.
Something I have always noticed about new writers and artists as they make their pilgrimages to Twang Town is that they ALL FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN DRIVEN TO DO THIS! And there is validity in that. Anyone who indulges in the creative arts, and probably anything, has to feel “compelled” to do it. Songwriting and music are among the “highest callings” according to most who do it.
I recently received what is one of the most common scenarios happening in music as it relates to Nashville and the music industry. A 20 something person, just graduating college (with their degree in music) getting ready to pull up stakes and move to Nashville (or make trips) and “start to promote and “SELL” their music in town.” Then they proceed to want to “pick my brain” for insights into how to approach it. Well, there is a price for “brain picking” but I will give out a few free samples.
Voted as one of the top three singer/songwriters in Nashville 4 years running in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Nashville Scene "Best Of Nashville" readers poll, Doc Holladay has become one of the most in-demand talents around, while also managing to work as a full time Optometrist.
Nashville Ear awards the Best of the Best honor to the songwriter that we feel stood out with exceptional songwriting and performances. Please join us in congratulating this years award winner Chris Gantry.