Ive been meaning to blog more. I have lots of thoughts all the time about various things. Some are stand up routines I save for the shower but, some are about the music business. I think a part of me thinks that because I haven’t “made it” yet my opinion doesn’t matter (thanks whichever demon that is). However, I can say that as a dude who does this full time and has played in the middle of nowhere, for no pay, for no one trying to smile when people say “good for you,” I’ve learned a lot. The hard way. It’s pretty much the only way I learn. Blame my tenacity.
Industry folks have said “no one needs your music, so you gotta figure out how to sell it” but I wager someone needs it. If you were honest about your song (train spikes to the heart tend to bring that out), YOU needed it. And yes, you are a beautiful and unique snowflake but chances are someone else felt/feels the same way about your situation. So if that’s our premise….
Your job is packaging it the best way possible: Edit the shit out of it with your gut (maybe someone else’s), find the right tempo, put it in the right key for your voice, dress it for its body type, pick chord voicings that give you chills. Then make make your world/what you represent concise (Design, website, brand, colors, interests, Booze, ideas, principles, fashion). No one goes to Jay-Z feeling sensitive or Dylan if you wanna feel like a boss. They both have identities and you know them, that’s why you laughed.
Next, figure out the best way for these people to receive it. Don’t skip this part. If you want your audience to feel sad/reflective, do it in a restaurant, their headphones, a listening room maybe a coffee shop. Believe me, no one wants to feel all of the feelings, half-drunk, at a rowdy dive bar.
Next find your people! Like-minded bands, like sounds, like interests, like themes, aesthetic. What do people do in your world? When is the best time/way to listen to your music? I think if you can answer those questions, then you’ll have a direction to run in. Or at least something to search in twitter, Facebook, etc.
Also be kind to yourself and others. Before you write me off as a wanna be Dali Lama, hear me out. People made a full time job of distracting themselves. From everything.
- Your people may miss it the first (second, fifteenth) time around.
- Your future manager may sleep on you (Hell, your current manager might sleep on you.)
- Your friends might not know that supporting you doesn’t just require showing up, asking to be on the guest list and getting embarrassingly drunk/leaving mid set/talking through the entire thing.
-Promoters have people yelling at them and thus have shifted their focus to “draw”
- Other bands may talk shit because (like yourself) they’re insecure.
None of this is your fault. Has no reflection what so ever on what you do. Your job is keep shining your light and learn from everything. Get better and smarter. Find ways to motivate people and make it about them. Celebrate the shit out of the people paying attention/enjoying cause you know what? They probably get you and that’s what you wanted right? In the same way people look to music to say “me too,” you look to writing to say “you too?”
Bonus: They’re gonna reflect your light and make you brighter. Increase your visibility. You don’t have to shove it down their throats just thank them and let em know how to find you. Then one by one, the list above will be ALL about you.
I know nothing about writing songs that please everyone. My friend Phred told me it’s like building a rocket ship. But I don’t think Bon Iver does either but somehow managed to make a lot of people cry about tickets, fines and skinny love. Personally, I’m into curvy love but he got me emotional cause it resonated.
So write and resonate.
If you want to attract industry people it’s simple, make money. Then all sorts if people start believing in you. Hah!#np on repeat: “Heart in Wire” - @MatthewMayfield