It's all about the song
GETTING (And KEEPING) the GIG
Probably the biggest question or comment I, or anyone else that is trying to do this hear is “How do I get booked on these writers nights/festivals/ THE BLUEBIRD?
We’ll, if that is you or anyone you know who is interested in being a performing singer songwriter, artist, either in a place like Nashville, New York or LA, or in the literally hundreds of thousands of cities, towns, hamlets, etc. that feature writers nights, open mic nights, local street fairs, clubs, pubs, etc.
READ ON HERE AND FORWARD IT!
First of all, a few things to keep in mind, whether you are auditioning for American Idol, or a live gig.
ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION.
People have limitless opportunities for music and entertainment. They don’t have to listen to you. And most of the time they DONT.
Music is not in the forefront of our lives now. We share it with the Internet, countless radio, television, pod casts, sporting events, computer games, etc.
People have VERY SHORT ATTENTION SPANS and we are having to EARN their attention.
It’s not the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Tik tok, etc. this is real people and believe me, they will tune you out Immediately if you don’t hook them.
Think I’m wrong?
Look at the “glow songs” and artists in an average performance. The “Glow” is in their faces, as they are on their cell phones doing something else while someone is on stage.
If you are performing and the people are on their phones, (unless they are videoing you) you are losing them.
And the hosts, management, waitresses, waiters, bartenders, etc. (employees) don’t miss this.
Want to play live? Better give people something to listen to, or bring your own Audience, (which you should be doing anyway.
YOURE NOT ALONE.
There are hundreds of thousands and millions of people trying to play live now. Locking them up for two years due to Covid, more and more people drawn to music, doing it Online, and more people seeking venues and opportunities.
That means the competition for spaces, slots, etc. is higher than ever.
Many many venues have shut down over Covid. Some have stopped live music because they can’t afford it if other costs are running them in the ground.
Do karaoke nights and let the drunk idiots be the show.
So your competition is pretty fierce. And short attention spans.
Imagine those long crowds standing in line for days at American Idol or the Voice. Now double it. Triple it. Quadruple it.
Think of a few pro football stadiums packed with hundreds of thousands.
That’s about your competition.
And the higher the level, the more in demand it is to get in.
THE BLUEBIRD. Mecca.
The Bluebird is every writers favorite place. Continually packed club, listen to every word. It’s songwriting perfection. It’s always been packed that way and today is harder to get into than Broadway tickets to HAMILTON.
And rightly so. It’s always had the motto of “SHHHH” and the music is everything. It’s where we all wish we could play every night.
It’s a victim of its own successes. Being the top dog for decades, a couple movies, multiple television shows and every major artist who has played anywhere in Nashville talking about it in interviews lead to a huge reputation.
About 15 years ago when Amy Kurland turned over ownership to NSAI, there was a list of around 25,000 people who had auditioned for the regular shows,
Yep, it’s the hardest to get into.
It’s what you work UP TO. Not start off in.
They have a Monday night open mic, you call a phone number, get in line, show up that night, play in the order. It’s very organized and very strict.
The regular shows are usually for hit writers, up and coming artists, publishing or record company shows, special events and again, what everyone wants to do, but only so much room for people.
Be prepared to wait.
Open mics and writers nights.
An “Open mics” is the equivalent of a “cattle call audition” for actors. Everyone that shows up, gets in line, meets and signs up with the hosts, then plays between one and two songs, usually in a “round” with three other writers.
They are usually at the beginning or end of a night or have a night focused on it.
They are usually listed in local papers or web sites.
These are usually invited shows, the hosts organize and run. Usually you need to have played a number of them to be considered, and again, impressing the host is key.
BETTER BE GOOD IN ALL OF THIS.
This is again, the big things that people want to play. There are hundreds of them now all over the place, I’m seeing sone of my hit writer friends playing in Denmark, France, The UK, Canada, etc. I’m sure they’ll have them everywhere soon.
And the higher the profile, the harder to play. They have thousands of submissions, and space for a few dozen, to a couple hundred.
There is a pecking order.
Hit writers are always the first because they have the marquee names and songs the public will know and want to see.
Up and coming artists.
Usually promoted by publishers or record companies showcasing their new people.
These are people who are well known in their communities,
Might have cuts, or have large followings.
Regional or local writer/artists.
In every area, there are local heroes who are going to bring business in.
These are the orders and if you are new, these are the lines to get into. There are often open mics and areas that newer people can access.
The best way to learn is to go.
Supporting a festival or any venue that you want to support you. Help keep the doors open, will make you look good.
Alright. These are the situations on most things. This is already long so I’m going to break it up.
The next post will be on HOW to give yourself the best chance to get these gigs, some tips on your performance, song selection, behavior to help give you and edge.
For more info on this and other subjects relating to live performance, is on my web site,