Monday, March 23, 2009

First Things First

1. Perform at as many DIFFERENT venues/events as possible

2. By doing this you will build a larger base of fans from different areas (If you don't have a fan list, please start one...your fan data base, in time, will become your most important asset)

3. Create a 'Buzz' in your local area then expand out in a circle from your home base, i.e., one, two, three, 4 hour drive from your home) During the summer time or when you out of school, try to book some events/fairs/shows in adjacent states, etc.

4. Build your buzz/career by writing weekly blogs on at least 3 of the social networking sites. Recently, artist blogs have become more effective than My Space in terms building your network of fans/readers.

5. If you don't play an instrument, learn how to ....if you do practice, practice, practice.

6. Strengthen/improve your vocals by working with a vocal coach. If you can't do that, stay in good physical shape by doing cardio exercises...whatever you do, do not lift weights...lifting weights will restrict your vocal range. The best exercise for improving and for making your vocals strong is swimming...yes, swimming. Swimming will increase your vocal range.

7. Keep a notebook with you at all times and make note and write down ideas for songs or write songs in it as well. If you need help writing, do not pay anyone, but work with co-writers of experience, which will help you sharpen your writing skills.

8. Attend workshops and join songwriting societies. Most major cities have them and they have weekly or monthly meetings you can go to.

9. Sing any where, any never know who will be listening.

10. Practice, practice, rehearse, music and your stage presence. Remember, in music, ALL ROADS LEAD TO THE STAGE. The stage is your platform, use it, and learn to own it.

11. Learn the difference in connecting with your fans and creating moments, as opposed to just singing well.

12. Have your own business cards...hand them out with a safe phone number and email address, plus, your website info.

13. Start developing your show/gig play list for: one, two, three, four, and five hour shows. Typically, you will need to perform 12 songs/hour. As your can see if you are booked in a 5 hour show, you will be performing 60 songs. Yes that is a lot in one night, but, there are 5 hour gigs. Most gigs run between 3 and 4 hours, so you would need to know between 36 and 48 songs to cover that gig.

14. Build your own song list and know all those songs by heart. It's ok to have a 'cheat' book on stage with all your songs lyrics typed in large enough format for you to see well. Within a 5 year period we like to see artist build their song list to at least 180 songs, both covers and originals. This give you a working 15 sets you can customize to fit and please each different venue. Plus, you do not want to become known as the artist/band that can only perform a few songs. We build play list with originals, covers, and great songs that most folks have not heard of. Because fans have not hear of them, they will think you are performing originals. If they ask you, be honest, and just tell them, it was a cover by a very talented Indie Artist. As you get older and are able to perform in clubs, be sure you discuss with the owner what type of music his customers like to hear and dance to. I book one club that is a 5 hour gig and this club owner wants and expects 180 minutes of music broken down in three different formats as far as the age of the songs being played. Why, because the first 90 minutes most of his customers are older and like to dance and listen to old music; they leave early and then you start working into the top forties cover songs; the last set can be a concoction of most anything because the audience is very young. The main point is you must learn to play songs your audience likes and connects with. In country venues, an owner judges how good your songs are by how many people are dancing, which makes them drink more, which makes him more money. Keep notes on every venue you perform and what they expect from you in terms of arrival times, setup and sound check to be completed by.

15. Do not wait around for a big label to come sign you. I have many friends in Nashville, including my producer. What labels are looking for these days are established artist that are traveling, touring, and earning enough money to support their careers. They figure if you can't make money on your own, why should they waste their time and money? Gone are the days of just a record/touring deal, now the majors are advocating 360 deals, which means they want a percentage of every dollar you generate. It used to be you could keep all your merchandise sales, but, not any more if your under contract with a label.

16. Do gigs/shows/fairs/festivals/coffee shops/Oprys. At first if you can play an instrument, book acoustical shows. If you don't play instrument, find a dedicated person to play acoustic guitar or keyboard.

17. Purchase a decent sound or PA system that will accommodate at least 300-500 people. Learn how to use it or solicit a close friend to learn how to set your sound to make your sound the best. I do sound as well, and I can make any great artist sound really bad by just the turn of a few knobs on the PA. Make sure you can hook up a CD player or a laptop computer to the sound system. Why? Because there are some gigs that will allow you to use music tracks instead of a band.

18. Start building a 'music track' library of songs.

19. Start thinking about a logo that you really like. Eventually folks will know you more by your unique logo than your further help brand you and your style of music.

20. Form a band....unless you get real lucky, this will be one of the most frustrating things you will have to do. Why? Because most musicians are looking for lots of work and money. They will leave you in a heartbeat. I have formed all male bands of young ages; all female bands; bands with a mixed of older and younger musicians; and bands with just older musicians in it. The most dedicated bands were the ones with some maturity and had been playing for 15 or more years. They are quick learners and they are reliable. You do not want musicians that can't rehearse; that won't work as hard as you on all phases of building a fan base; and you certainly don't want musicians that call the day of the show and tell you they can't make it. The most important things I recommend for forming a great band is: Are they quick learners; can they make their own charts; are them TEAM players; will they do extra things with you to help promote the band; can any of them sing back up vocals? And above all, if any of them won't work as hard as you do....git rid of them immediately, regardless of how good they are or how good they think they are.

21. Buy one of these $150 video camera's from Walmart and start shooting videos. Post the best ones on your blogs, YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, and your own website. Remember you are trying to create visibility, because the more visibility you create the more fans you will have. All fans are good, but, the ones you really want to take care of are what I call True Blue Fans. TBF are fans that will spend a minimum of $100/year every year on your music, your merchandise, and your shows. Do the math and for every 1,000 TBF you have your will generate $100,000 of gross sales. You goal is to eventually have 10,000 TBF which will generate $1,000,000 of gross revenue / year for you to tour in a bus with a full time band, road manager, etc. The larger you fan base is the faster and larger it will get in a short period of time.

22. If you have not already done so, start developing a daily dedicated work ethic. When others are playing, going to movies, hanging out with their friends, you are working on your music career. Don't be under any illusions that a successful career in music is one of the most difficult things you will every do, but, I have faith that you can make it, if you will dedicate yourself passionately to become a great entertainer that knows how to connect with audiences and most importantly how to create memorable moments for them, during your shows.

23. Do not become upset if someone gives you or your song a bad review. Always remember you are going through a big learning process and unfavorable comments are great, because they help you know where you need to improve. This post is a little bit of the appetizer. You still have to go through the entree to get to the dessert.

I am more like Simon and that is good because you must never believe everyone thinks all your music is great.

Great music connects and creates memorable moments for your audiences. The most important factor about your music is: WILL PEOPLE BUY IT. If you record a CD and everyone likes it, but, almost no one buys it, well??? If you can't market your music and your merchandise, you can't have a successful career, unless you got a very rich someone that will finance you.

Here at KleerStreem Entertainment, we will give you honesty and sometimes that may not be what you want to hear. WE CALL IT:




We hope some of this information is useful, but, by no means is it complete.

Finally, not you or your music are the most important thing in your career, it will always be your TRUE BLUE FANS. For, without, them, there is no career. And don't forget to enjoy each day and have fun!

1 comment:

Teresa R said...

OH MY I had to laugh at #20! I have been working at music for most of my life, and this truly is the hardest aspect of it to conquer. It has felled many bands, be they stadium-sellouts or your local garage band. CHEMISTRY is everything! I have a dear friend who always says, "It's not SHOW FRIENDS, it's SHOW BUSINESS." WHen the other members aren't holding up their end, it gets old very quickly. When you are the one doing all of the web design, promoting, posters, booking, charts, burning Cds, sound person & BUYER of the sound (grrr) etc etc etc it can make for hard feelings quickly. The remark about rehearsal is so true. When someone says, "I DON'T REHEARSE" or gripes about having them...get RID of them quickly. Rehearsing brings a tightness that just getting up and jamming will NEVER bring about. If you want people to pay their hard-earned cash to see you, you must give them the MOST PROFESSIONAL show that you can. How do you get this? REHEARSING!!!