Industry Insights

Music Highway (5th Edition)

Be Committed!…You’ll Never Be Famous If You Don’t Show Up!
by Sheena Metal

Everyone wants to be famous: live in a mansion, drive a sports car, tour the world in your private plane, date a model, float around in the pool while collecting royalties for CD sales, and drink beer right out of your private tap. But not everyone is aware that, with any career that has the potential to end in a bounty of riches and beautiful babes, climbing your way to rock stardom is very hard work.

So, how does your average musical genius go from penniless Pop Tart-eater to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? How do you move on up from mom’s garage to a deluxe apartment in the sky? What’s your first baby step on the Yellow Brick Road to fame and fortune? That’s simple…be committed!

It sounds silly, but many a musical boat has sailed with a crestfallen unsigned artist standing confused on the dock, for lack of nothing else but follow-through. Commitment to your deeds and plans is the single most essential skill towards achieving your goal of Ultimate Superstardom. Entertainment is a fickle business and chances don’t come along every day. One missed opportunity now could have spiraled into dozens even hundreds of opportunities down the line.

It may be true that talent is a gift you carry with you from birth, but commitment is a learned skill that you need to hone every day. So, how can you make sure that you’ve got what it takes to gather up your supreme musicality and conquer the universe with it continuously?

The following are a few tips that may help you to make sure that you’re truly committing yourself to your musical career on a daily basis:

1.) Follow Up On All Leads—No matter how insignificant they may seem at the time, it’s important to follow up on every musical lead that’s thrown your way. Letters, calls and emails should be answered politely and in a timely fashion. New contacts should be logged in your address book for future correspondence. Opportunities should be taken, invites accepted, and chances to network relished. By starting out with just these simple rules you’ll watch your resources and mailing list grow. Suddenly you’ll have music community friends with which to share your leads and ideas, ask advice, trade experiences, and combine talent and energies. Through these friends, you’ll meet new friends and fans and from them even more new connections. Soon, you’ll have so many opportunities that your concern will change from lack of opportunity to lack of time in the day to pursue each new chance.

2.) Just Show Up—Sounds so simple it’s stupid, but you’d be surprised how many talented people have fallen by the wayside because they were unable to simply show up. Cancelled gigs, forgotten meetings, and missed auditions say to the Musical Powers That Be, “I’m a huge flake who doesn’t think your opportunity is worth a half-hour of my precious time.” This is a really bad thing. Entertainment is a small town with a huge memory. Don’t give people any reason to think that you’re not the person they want to work with, give the job to, book for the gig, sign to their label, write about, talk about, and help any way they can. Remember there are tens of thousands of musicians waiting to take your place, so step up to the plate and seize each chance with optimism and enthusiasm.

3.) Take Initiative—Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. The world is a virtual cornucopia of information, so reach out and nab yourself some chances at stardom. Comb the internet, join music communities, visit open mic nights, take classes and workshops…put yourself out there where there are cool musical happenings and let others know that you can be relied upon and want to be involved. By going out and seizing your own opportunities, you may double, triple, etc. your resources and chances, and expedite your journey to success.

4.) Do The Best Job You Can—As important as it is to show up, it is also essential that you come off efficient, talented, and professional when faced with a new opportunity. Being there is half the battle but the other half is being the best that you can be and impressing industry, press, clubs and your fellow musicians enough to make them want you to be involved in anything and everything they do. Make a commitment to put on the best live show possible, to have a terrific CD, to make a professional presskit, and to spread the word about your music. Be punctual, be courteous, be positive and be fun. Don’t give anyone any reason not to work with you again and you’ll see that it becomes easier and easier to get what you want for your artistic career.

It really is as easy as simply showing up, following up and giving it your all. Making it in music is not impossible; it’s just a lot of elbow grease, a little organization, a bit of strategy, and the simple sculpting of your talent into a marketable commodity. There are thousands of chances offered every day to musicians…reach out and grab them by the handful, make every opportunity your own, get everything you want from this business and when you’re richer than Oprah and more famous than Madonna, remember that it was you who made it happen. You were a pro. You showed up. You committed.

Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 700 affiliates to more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more info:

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