CREATING YOUR NICHE
WRITER’S FINDING ARTISTS
In the past, I have outlined some of the reasons we’ve gotten where we are in the music business. It took me three posts to scratch the surface, and there could be dozens more. I want to thank so many of you for reading and especially when you comment. It’s so much more satisfying than “LIKES” or “REACTIONS.” I appreciate it when people participate and I get ideas of what I want to talk about next. So thank you.
If you didn’t see it, basically the music industry as regard to PURE songwriters, (those that do not perform, those who are focused more on having people record your songs or in PARTICULARLY, those trying to move to Nashville, or make regular forays into the modern music business. You will find all the doors LONG shut, for many reasons, Loss of income in songs themselves, oversaturated market, Internet marketing, and the RELATIONSHIP factor that a town like Nashville and a business like music, have always thrived on. Go back and read it if you missed it.
In many ways it sounds like the “VOICE OF DOOM” in that I am declaring that the “era of song pitching breaking in over and the era of FREE MUSIC taking their place. That is, and is NOT true. There is STILL a music business, still people that do well, still a vibrant society going on. There are always going to be a “TOP OF THE PYRAMID” “POWERS THAT BE” GATEKEEPERS” ETC. And someone will ALWAYS BE BREAKING THROUGH.
But until you find ways INTO those circles, or if you NEVER find your way in, there is STILL hope. And for many in todays’ Internet world, there will NEVER BE A NEED for those circles. WE MAKE OUR OWN.
Much of what I do as a teacher and mentor of songwriters and artists, is spend a day or multiple days, going through their songs, doing performance critiques, writing new songs with them introducing to my friends and circles, and helping them understand an overview. Not everyone wants to move here, but plenty do. Many are on the cusp, trying to find how to do it. And many would just like to have another avenue for their hobby. If it pays off, fine, but mostly to NOT LOSE lot of money.
So many will try to jump line, go have meetings, hire song pluggers (many who are well intentioned, but not very effective, often over promising and under delivering,) recording songs that probably should be left UNRECORDED, and basically operating with both feet firmly in their mouths.
ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION.
In many cases, some of the best advice I can give is STAY WHERE YOU ARE. FIND PEOPLE IN YOUR AREA INSTEAD OF TRYING TO PITCH TO CARRIE, JASON, FLORIDA GA,LINE OR LUKE BRYAN. Trust me, until you get KNOWN those people are WAAAAAY OUT OF YOUR REACH, and even AFTER YOUR KNOWN, they might not be, and also might not even BE HERE by the time you GET KNOWN.
The music industry is always kind of like that old joke:
WHO IS GARTH BROOKS?
LETS GET TO GARTH BROOKS
FIND ME THE NEXT GARTH BROOKS
WHO IS GARTH BROOKS?
Fame is fleeting and today’s interns are tomorrows record label presidents.
And today’s record company presidents are tomorrow’s interns.
Tough business ain’t it?
So I suggest all writers AND artists, find like minded people in their home areas, and then look for people in regions, online, and in music centers. Find local writers hang outs, coffee shops, colleges, songwriters clubs and venues, local songwriter’s groups, OR start your own. Get a couple people together for a lunch of dinner, play some songs, do critiques, build your friend’s list. Have a party once a month and invite a bunch of people and some players. Have a living room house concert.
One of our buddies, Doak Turner did that every Third Sunday of the month. Ended up doing it for SEVEN years, and at times as many as 200-600 writers, friends, fans showed up.Hit writes artists, publishers, producers all came through there. Was great till they nearly destroyed his house and he had to shut it down. A great resource is Doak’s MUSIC STARTS HERE website. The “YELLOW PAGES OF NASHVILLE MUSIC BUSINESS”
So there are ways. One of my favorite is this one. One of my clients over the past couple years is a guy from Cairn’s Australia, Andrew Cavanah. Andrew is a C.D. (Computer Dude) who’s business is Internet marketing, and consulting. He’s very good at what he does and has many clients. Andrew, like so many others, had a hobby in songwriting, nd through research, decided a visit to Nashville, while making a tour of the states, would be a good idea to see what the real world was like.
He and his sweet girlfriend, were visiting several states and finally found me. I picked them up at the bus station and we were off and running He was doing a three day “TOUR” with me, and after a good Nashville lunch, we went to work.
One of the things with people from other countries, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. is that we are people separated by a common language. A lot of the way they say things are not how we say things and vice versa. There are local sayings colloquialisms that don’t work everywhere. So much about writing is sometimes as much TRANSLATING. Also a lot of other countries have different styles and genres. Sometimes they are similar, sometimes not. So again, part of the tour, “THE PAST, PRESENT” is going through things they have already done and trying to organize them with an eye and ear toward Nashville.
Then, we get into my favorite part, THE FUTURE, where I actually WRITE SONGS with them, I demonstrate the PROCESS of songwriting. And show how to get REALITY into songs. I use the details OF THEIR LIVES, up against grooves, melodies, tempos, that I know well. Since he is a writer and not a performer, I could indulge my imagination and experiences. One, MADE IN AUSTRALIA, was STRAIGHT AC/DC, which I would really be hit by two days later when we RECORDED THE DAMN THING AND I HAD TO SING IN MY BEST BRIAN JOHNSON/BON SCOTT SCREECH ALL THE WAY THROUGH A SONG!!!! DAAAAAMMMNNN!!!! Doing it at 21 was bad enough. Try that crap at 59!!!!!!!
But we had a lot of fun. One of my favorites was bringing in CHRISTINE PARRI, from Perth Australia, who lives here and is one of the COOLEST people I ever get to work with, I like to introduce these people to their fellow countrymen (and women) to get a perspective on the multi continent approach. Christine, who in addition to having one of the BEST VOICES I’VE EVER WORKED WITH, is also almost a character in herself. Very tall and STATUESQUE, she is more of the 1940’s-50’s pin up girl who LOVES the “FABULOUS BAKER BOYS” type of torch music. A throwback to a great era, you can imagine her in a Humphry Bogart movie, singing in the bar, while “Sam plays a steamy song for Bogie to narrate, “Just looking at you kid.”
I adore her, and the resulting song, “IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK” is one of my favorite specialty songs I’ve ever written on. And two days later when we recorded it, SHE NAILED IT TO A WALL! Later on, Andrew would do a song video to it which I’ll post a little later. It was a BLAST!!!! Damn I love this town!
We got several songs and through it, I asked questions and made comments about his home country and ways to plug in there. Like most people, he was more interested in Nashville, but pretty quickly found that the time investment, money investment, probably would not be worth the payoff if any. Smart guy.
He was here for a few more days, and I think I had an effect of pointing out things that were underneath his nose. Like most, he went home and I didn’t hear a lot for a while.
Then he started contacting me and bringing me up to date on his activities. .He had taken the things we worked on, started finding artists in Australia. Those efforts paid off when he foujnd BENN GUNN, an up and coming singer songwriter, who Andrew found online. They started writing by SKYPE and before you know it they were tearing it up. Resulting in Andrew writing a lot on Benn’s next CD, which hit the charts, eventually going to number one “ONLY IN AUSTRALIA.” It has been on the charts for FIVE MONTHS. They have followed that up with GOT THE BOAT and are Just getting warmed up.
They now have a regular writing team, and they’ve NEVER BEEN IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER! That, in turn has brought other artists, who are now SEEKING out Andrew. When ya Hot, ya hot!!!!
The point is IT CAN BE DONE. You still can find your niche. You can find people in your area. Hey folks, the NEXT AMERICAN IDOL or the THE VOICE contestant doesn’t come from Nashville, New York or LA. They come from Sioux City, Iowa. Mentone Alabama, Wichita Kansas, Liverpool, England. Wait a minute. Didn’t; somebody come from there before?
You can still participate in this. In many ways, it’s the BEST OF TIMES, IT’S THE WORST OF TIMES. You don’t always havse to play by the rules.
YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN. Go get em.