Starting Your Nashville Journey
By Marc-Alan Barnette
Some are like watching birds fly into invisible walls, being stopped without understanding why. Wrong types of songs, inconsistencies in activity, over anxious behavior, not understanding the rules, all come together to stop or slow progress down. Over the next few articles, I hope to provide some information that might help in learning the ropes of Nashville.
THE BIG FOUR
The main things anyone approaching this from the perspective of the songwriter, the artist, or the interested parties supporting those people, family members, loved one’s, significant others, friends, etc. can be boiled down into four distinct areas:
#1. CREATION OF THE SONG
With one BILLION SONGS A MONTH going up on the Internet, thousands written and recorded a day, miles of video footage uploaded to sites like YOU TUBE, getting and keeping attention is the most important thing we can do. Learning the craft of writing, doing it often, working with other people, is essential in this day. Creating something unique and interesting that holds attention past the thirty second attention span of modern people is harder than it seems. It does ALL START WITH A SONG, as NSAI says, but it is more complicated than just throwing together some words that rhyme. Gotta work harder these days.
#2. PRESENTATION OF THE SONG
We are now in a visual, information age. Songs don’t just stand alone anymore than us watching television on small black and white TV screens. We have to be aware of our performance, either live or recorded. Learning the art and craft of live performance, enunciation, dynamics, nuances, are essential. And in music we no longer do “just demos.” We are doing RECORDINGS, because they are now used on CD’s, web sites, as auditions for larger events, radio ready, and no excuses. ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION. If you put it out there, it is OUT THERE. Have to think about how we are perceived in every situation.
Networking, for a simpler definition, is just making friends. You are trying to bring people to your BRAND. Attract co-writers, publishers, record labels, producers, or just new listeners or CUSTOMERS for your music.
But as huge as the INTERNET SENSATION has become, a lot of that still has to be done face to face, one fan at a time. As artists and writers, we are also politicians, “vote for me. Vote for my songs.” Be ready to shake hands and kiss babies. If you are not a good networker, your competition is. 15% of a career is “on the field”, the writing, recording, performing. The rest is all networking and breaks. But LUCK is when opportunity and preparation meet. Leads me to a formula: ACTIVITY=PROXIMATY=OPPORTUNITIES.
When all these things come together, the business happens. This can be making the right connection, propelling your career further, adding the right people for your team, developing “street credibility’, connections and the ultimate, commerce taking place. Making Money. But without the first three, the fourth never happens.