My knowledge of gardening is limited to weekly trips to the farmer's market. A couple months ago I was talking with my friend, Kristin, who has a gorgeous yard and garden and she encouraged me to start a small one. I enlisted the help of my husband, Kent (who wasn't very thrilled about the idea at first), and started doing baby steps of research. Jumping into something that's out of your league can be rather daunting and you may quit before you start. I don't have much planted in my yard or square foot garden, but it's more than enough to give me a sense of accomplishment and the need to go outside daily and check on the progress. Of course I had these grand visions of rows of vegetables in a deer proof cage as the ultimate yard kitsch, but knowing so little of gardening I had to start small. So small in fact, I started with seeds and you can do the same with your career!
Why is it that young artists think they can jump from singing a song well to getting "discovered" and signed to a label? I know I had my fantasies when I was younger and had no idea how much work and time went into creating an artist. What are some seeds that you can plant to get you started on your dream?
One suggestion is keeping a journal of excellent song titles. Anytime someone says something clever, write it down. It may inspire you to write a song about it. While you have the journal open, write down some phrases that roll off your tongue. You don't have write a whole song lyric in one sitting. You can piece the phrases together when you have a collection. Don't worry at first about random thoughts. Collect enough of them and you'll have a garden full of ideas! (Pun intended.)
If you're still in school, every day you learn something new and by the end of a school year, you've learned quite a bit! Imagine if you put just a fraction of that time into practicing your instrument. The more you educate yourself as a musician, the more you will be respected.
IMAGE & BRANDING
The other day, Grace's mom, Kristin (not the same as aforementioned), asked if I knew how to sew. Ummm...buttons and hems and that's about it. If you learned how to sew, you could create some amazing outfits for yourself without investing a lot of money in fashion. Don't rely on a fashion consultant if you don't know what you feel comfortable wearing. Your image is going to be an extension of who you already are.
PR & MARKETING
Were you the kid in school who sold the most candy bars to raise money for your chorus or band? What stories did you share to compel them to buy the candy? Those same skills you used will help you sell your music when it's time. Pay attention to the little details on what inspires people to help you. Are they supporting the arts, and if so, why? Let's suppose you do find someone who wants to promote and write about you. Make sure you give them a lot of stories to write about!
Maybe you're the one in the family who always socks away money in your piggy bank from gifts, allowance, and small jobs. You can use that skillset today to save money to record your music. There are some artists who use crowd funding sites, but wouldn't you really rather earn and save the money yourself? I do encourage my students to use those sites to raise money where 100% goes to a non-profit of their choice. By the time you earn the right to have someone invest in you, they will want to know how much money they can make off of you, not give to you! Prove first why you are a worthy investment by investing in yourself.
Are you the one who plans the family vacations or decides on the restaurant you go to with your friends? Then you have the aptitude to shop for locations to perform your sets. If you can't book yourself and already have a following, then no booking agent will be interested.
Calling all moms and dads! Yep, if you are fortunate enough to have parents who support your musical endeavors, then they are your first managers. How do you communicate with them? If you can negotiate with the help of your parents who know you the best, then you are on your way to understanding how to work with a manager.
If you have the desire to be a "star" then remind yourself that it is a full time job that takes hard work and planning. Start planting your seeds now!
Peace out and rock on!