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Archive: Jul 2014

How to Put a Band Together

Posted on July 31, 2014 by admin

How to Put a Band TogetherWhether you are a solo artist who wants a tight group of musicians to fulfill your vision to compliment your vocal skills, or a singer-songwriter who wants to crystalize ideas with collaboration – you need a great band to do it!

Find Players

Advertise your need for band members. You can do this on specialty forums, on your area’s craigslist, or the old fashioned way – by printing out a flyer and sticking it to the bulletin board in your local music shop. Include what you are looking for (i.e. a bassist, drummer, or guitarist) and what kind of skills are required. If you are a beginner, don’t ask for expert level musicians unless you’re pretty sure you can keep up with them. Meet the candidates and gauge whether or not you are compatible (ask what kind of music they enjoy, and what styles they feel comfortable playing). If you are a solo artist looking for a talented backing band, you may need to compensate the band for their time – otherwise, you’ll have to rely on friends to develop the talent and sound you need for free.

Practice, Practice, Practice

After you’ve decided on your band members, get into the garage (or practice space) and start practicing! You can’t be a band if you cannot play songs together. Start by playing cover songs that everybody enjoys to get a feel for your new band’s talents. Then introduce your own material, and ask for input. Collaborating with a band can make your work shine, especially if you let others’ skills and passion come through in the music. This practice period will also allow you to figure out if you truly can work together with your new band members on a musical level.

Pick a Name

This name will follow you everywhere, so make sure it’s a good one! If you’re a solo artist, you can use your real name or decide to work under an alter ego.

Agree on a Look

As much as we hate to admit it, looks matter. That’s not saying that your band has to be all handsome young people. Rather, your band should have a look that agrees with the genre of music you play. You do not want to look like a bunch of goth punks while playing country music (unless you are purposefully creating a playful theme). You don’t have to go all out Beatles and wear matching suits, but each member can at least agree not stray too far from one style. Don’t forget to add photos to your social network so people can put faces together with your band.

Book Gigs

Start small – a birthday party, an end of the year bash, or a block party can all make a great stage for a new band who is just starting out. Ask your friends and family to keep their ears open for potential gigs. You can also try to play at open mic nights, community talent shows, or family reunions. Don’t think you’re going to be rocking out in your local club right from the start. But when the time is right, approach booking personnel and offer your services. If you have footage of your last show (even if it was at a teenager’s birthday party), email it around to people who might be able to set up shows. Guerilla shows in alleyways, under bridges, and in backyards are common in towns with thriving rock and roll scenes. If you are a more classic singing act with a backing band, offer your services for weddings and special occasions.

Spread the Word

Don’t forget how powerful word of mouth can be. Flyers, social media profiles, and your friends can all come in handy when advertising your next show – or the fact that you have music available. Cross-link all your social media profiles so that someone who stumbles on each of the band members on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., can instantly find your songs or band on sites like TalentWatch, Reverbnation, Bandcamp, or YouTube.  These resources are also important for venue bookers deciding on bands. Encourage your fans to spread the word and share your posts.

 

Performance Video Versus Narrative Video

Posted on July 25, 2014 by admin

Performance Video versus Narrative VideoDo you feel like you are singing into the void, or that not enough people are discovering your songs? Might be time to think about making a music video!

Music fans can always listen to tracks on bandcamp and soundcloud, but music videos work on multiple levels. They are a great way to show off your voice, songwriting, and style- all at one time. After enough views, fans not only can sing along with the song, but they also start to identify with the artist.

Music videos usually fall under two categories: performance or narrative. Both types have the potential to be fun and engaging promotion tools. Let’s take a look at how these videos differ!

Performance Video

You, your instrument, and a camera – that’s all you need to make a performance video. This type of video shows your raw talent. Booking agents, industry personnel, and new fans can see exactly what you have to offer with this type of video.  In fact, when Rick Barker, former manager of Taylor Swift, recorded a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOvXtfq0niI) about why he thinks TalentWatch is an important site for music artists, he specifically mentioned the value of performance videos.

Pros – Make it easy for people to instantly ‘get’ who you are and what kind of music you play; easier to film.

Cons – Not as creative as a narrative video; can get boring – especially if you’ve seen many performance videos.

Narrative Video

When you want to show off some extra creativity, a narrative video allows you to do that. It features a story line that is somehow related the song, and usually features the artist (or friends) as actors. Audiences can easily engage with this type of video. 

Pros – fun, engaging, and creative! A perfect way to speak to an audience about more than just your raw talent.

Cons – can be time-consuming, complicated, and costly to make; can “miss the mark” completely if it is too concept-driven or complex.

Both kinds of videos are acceptable for any beginning artist – whether you want the ease of making a performance video or the creative stimulation of creating the narrative type. The important thing is to create a video, so you can communicate your talent all over the world. And over time, you’ll probably get a chance to try out each type of video!

What’s Preventing Your Music Career from Taking Off? We May Have the Answer.

Posted on July 8, 2014 by admin

What’s Preventing Your Music Career From Taking Off? We May Have the Answer.Launching a successful music career never happens overnight. Musicians and artists must work hard for years before anything happens. And when something does happen, it usually isn’t superstardom. It could be a paying gig, a full-month tour, or a song being licensed for a video game.

So what separates the super successful artists from the rest of the pack?  Belief.  Belief is the fuel you need to overcome all the roadblocks you encounter in the music biz.  Belief in yourself and your material separates the artists who make it from those who don’t. U2, one of the biggest rock acts still going strong, didn’t even know how to play their instruments proficiently when they started aiming for the big time. They just knew they wanted to do it – and had a whole lot of belief to back themselves up.

It’s easy to rationalize why you haven’t made it.  In fact, many artists use age as a limiting factor. As they struggle on, they worry that they’re too old to find an audience. Look at Cyndi Lauper.  Besides her age, she faced obstacles most artists could never overcome.  Cyndi Lauper was 30 with a failed band, a bankruptcy due to music industry lawsuits, and a vocal chord injury in her recent past, before she finally skyrocketed up the charts. Madonna was continuously rejected by music industry hotshots – before becoming one of the biggest pop stars in history. 

Robert Collier once said, “There is nothing on Earth you cannot have-once you have mentally accepted the fact that you can have it.” This is the mindset you must have to break through the roadblocks you encounter.

Lana Del Rey, now the picture of hip super stardom, was transformed by a failed first effort. The same woman, the same voice, and the same talent went by the name of Lizzy Grant – and couldn’t catch a break. In Grant’s case, a little belief went a long way. Because she knew she had a gift and had to share it with the world Lizzy, instead of giving up, went back to the drawing board and came up with Lana Del Rey. Now she’s a singing star. 

Even Elvis Presley had to do some soul searching.  In 1954, when Elvis was still a nobody, the manager of the Grand Ole Opry fired him after one performance. He told Elvis that he should go back to driving a truck because he would never make it as a singer.

Still not convinced?  The biggest band of all time, The Beatles, were famously rejected after a live audition for Decca Records – the company even said, “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Can you imagine the face of music now if the Beatles had let doubt shake them?

If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will believe in you. You are unwittingly strapping your career to a lead weight instead of letting it soar freely. Belief makes you try harder, it makes you sound better, and it makes you feel like you can do anything.  And if you believe you can do anything, you will.