Last time we started by giving Advantage Music Production’s first five ways to be taken seriously in the music industry as a musician or performing artist. The topic generally relates to the small and simple things a person can do that can do to gain respect amongst their peers on a recording session, or performance date. While seeming small and insignificant, these small things combined can have a net effect leading to more opportunities. Here is a continuation of those tips. Feel free to share your thoughts, or any other suggestions below.
6. Have a normal voicemail greeting. Sounds strange, but it’s a real turnoff to hear crazy / cutesy / unintelligible voicemail greetings. On that same subject, check and maintain your mailbox frequently, and return messages promptly.
7. STOP WORKING FOR FREE! (and ask a fair price). People are taken seriously when they show that they are worth the money. If you are touring band, you have expenses that the promoter/club/church needs to cover. You deserve a clean bed/hotel to sleep in, not the floor of the van, or some distant friend’s basement floor. This is the single biggest reason why musicians, performers, songwriters etc. end up broke and starving – too many sell themselves short. Buyers begin to expect that a drummer is just dying to pack up their drum kit, schlep it 30 miles, load-in from the end of the driveway and play the 3 hour set for $50. Put a price on your services and be prepared to justify that price, rather than cave in.
8. Personal Appearance/Hygiene. Recently I was doing a gig with a guitar player that was quite talented. I let him know I appreciated his tone and feel, and asked if he was doing a lot of other gigs. I soon found out that he primarily was working as a guitar tech, and was having a hard time moving from tech land to player land. I believe that part of his problem was that he LOOKED like a guitar tech, not a guitar player. You need to look (and smell) like a professional in your area of expertise.
9. Organization. It always makes me nervous to come to a session or rehearsal where the session leader (singer or band leader) walks into the session with charts falling all over the place, wrinkled paper, nothing is really in any type of order etc. Their date book is falling apart, and they can’t seem to find the rehearsal CD they made for you. It’s hard to take that person seriously.
10. Preparedness. As a musician (singer, instrumentalist, whatever), strive to come into a session, rehearsal or performance knowing AND understanding the music better than the other musicians on the job (you TOO, drummers!). That means really understanding where the chorus actually begins (that might not be where the chart says it starts, too), whether there are odd-numbered phrases etc. If it’s a sight-reading date, know your equipment, its sounds, appropriate musical styles and be ready to suggest a course of action if anyone asks for your opinion on things.
Simple, simple stuff. But you’d be amazed at how many unorganized, poorly dressed, self-deprecating singers are out there who work for free (or tips), and can never manage to find the correct charts for their show, but have a really cute voicemail message that leads to a full mailbox. How frustrating it is to work for someone like that. Don’t be that person. Take yourself seriously and others will, too.