This is a guest editorial by Natalie Landecker, from The Guitar Pal, a site designed to provide a guide for both guitar beginners and aficionados. In this article, Natalie shares her advice for new musicians looking to break into the industry.
As a new musician, you don’t need to be told that you are just one of hundreds, maybe even thousands trying to get their big break. Instead of feeling discouraged by these numbers, you should use it as inspiration to change your approach. You need to come up with novel ways to garner attention and to ensure that you make it in the music industry. Now, this can sound like an incredibly daunting task, especially if you aren’t entirely sure about what you are doing. So, here are some pointers to remember for the duration of your career:
Find Yourself a Mentor
You can expect quite a few pitfalls along the way. Unless you want to fall victim to every one of them, you need to find a guide that can help you out. In short, you will need to look for a mentor – this can be especially important if you are a female musician trying to make it big. There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting this guide. As you can imagine, it is best to opt for someone who has some knowledge of the music industry.
So, you may want to turn to a retired musician, a teacher, or a company like Major Labl, that offer Pay As You Management especially for unsigned artists. Look for someone who has experience, and a proven track record of success. They will be in the best position to offer you guidance and advice. Of course, it is imperative that you only select someone that you truly trust and has your best interests at heart.
Create an Authentic Persona for Yourself
Most people aren’t aware that legends like Bob Dylan and David Bowie changed their names. This was, to a certain degree, to either distance them from who they were or to separate themselves from emerging artists. Now, this may depend on your preference – do you want to create a stage name or persona that embodies who you want to be as an artist?
While there is certainly nothing wrong with doing this, be careful when taking this route. Remember to be true to yourself. Even though you might be hoping to explore a different version of yourself, make sure that it is grounded in some fundamental aspect of yourself. So, why should do this? Well, it’s largely for your audience and hopefully, future fan base. People have a tendency to connect with artists who appear to be more genuine or open. So, if you really want to relate to people, you need to show some element of your true self.
Always Be Ready
There is no telling when you may meet someone who is interested in your music. It could be a music producer attached to a label or simply someone who is eager to hear what you can do. So, you can’t afford to be unprepared – if you are, you may end up losing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. This begs the question, how can you be ready at all times?
Well, ensure your website, Spotify and social media presence is up to date and presents the best version of yourself. You don’t want to be sending someone there only for them to discover a scratchy demo, low grade video, or terrible photo.
Create Connections Wherever You Go
As mentioned earlier, you are one of many musicians battling it out for that top spot. Therefore, it can be easy to view these other artists as contenders. However, that’s not how the game works. It is more about collaboration than competition. In many cases, the more connections you make, the further you can go in your career. Not to mention, you can never tell when one of your fellow artists may be able to help you out or even recommend you.
Another reason why making connections is relevant is because it’s easier to pair up with other musicians. This could mean either creating songs with them, playing with them on stage, or simply just following them in a lineup. Regardless of the form of collaboration, there is no denying that playing with other artists is a great way to get more attention.
Certainly, it isn’t just other artists that you should be networking with. Essentially, you need to have a good relationship with everyone you work with. This is irrespective of whether they have a direct link to the music industry. After all, you really can’t tell when you will need to lean on these people again.
Figure Out Your Stage Presence
Something you should never forget is that you are more than just a musician – you are also an entertainer. This means that every time you get on stage, the audience expects a great performance. As you can imagine, stage presence changes from artist to artist. So, it is largely up to you how you control and sway the audience.
Some of the more flamboyant artists that come to mind are Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury. While their exuberant and booming personas worked for them, the same thing may not be right for you. There is no harm in toning down a performance. But make sure that when you do, you give the audience something memorable, nevertheless.
These are just a few things to remember as you try to break into the industry. With these tips, you are sure to find it a lot easier to survive the music industry and hopefully thrive!
Words: Natalie Landecker – The Guitar Pal