by Cari Cole
Everyone’s path as a musician is different. Some musicians go to school to become trained musicians, some are self-taught. Some musicians rise up playing local venues, some come about their success being DJ’s or songwriters. Many work hard their whole lives to build it. You can’t plan how your success will come, but you can improve your chances ~ greatly so. By first being a great musician, singer and songwriter. Without that, you’re building a brand on a hot air balloon. There’s only one way to go but down.
You can market until you are blue in the face, but if you don’t have what people want (great music), you have nothing.
Here are my top 4 quick tips for greatly increasing your odds and building your success upon a solid foundation. You’re going to need it.
1. Study Your Craft and Become the Best Musician You Can Be.
News of great music travels fast. In this day and age of transparency, you’ve got to first have the goods. You could be a world known musician or brand, but never studied theory or played an instrument. Maybe you just learned how to create tracks on Garageband or in Logic. But there could be holes in your knowledge that are holding you back. Or maybe you’re a Grammy winning singer, but you never developed a strong vocal practice and now you’re having vocal issues. Or maybe you’re starting out and you’re out on tour, but you never studied songwriting and now it matters. Or maybe you’ve got 3 albums out and you want to dive into your artistry and message deeper than before. One thing is for certain, no one in the business who stays up there stagnates. Don’t be afraid to keep pushing yourself to learn, to grow. Study music and become the best musician you can be.
For me, this message first came from my Mom, who was a classical musician. She taught me how to read and play classical guitar early in my life and helped me develop a discipline of daily practice. Later, I went to music school to fill in the missing links of theory and composition. There, I met the most amazing musicians who again, reinforced this message to me. While it was a bit of time before I could integrate this knowledge without sounding stiff, it was an integral part of my success as a musician and songwriter. What holes in your knowledge do you need to sharpen? Don’t wait. If you want a real career in this business, you need to become a musician that you would be proud of.
2. Practice Vocal Technique If You Want to Go Pro.
When I was 19 years old I was singing and playing rhythm guitar in an original rock band project called “Fallen Angels.” Our producer, Bill Russo, was the first person who saw my talent as a vocalist, even more than I did. He suggested I become a serious singer and study with a vocal coach. That was one of the BEST things I ever did. Can’t imagine my life if I didn’t listen to that advice. Thanks Bill. If you want to have an amazing voice, vocal power, strength and longevity, take the plunge. Then practice every day. You won’t believe the difference.
3. Get Yourself in the Music Business.
Well over a decade ago, my now ex-husband said to me “you need to get yourself in in the music business instead of on the outside.” I didn’t realize that like most artists, I was so consumed by the artistry of being an artist (writing songs, performing, recording etc.) that I was wasn’t building relationships or working with people in the industry. I didn’t even really know where to start. It’s now one of the central things I teach artists and show them exactly how to do it no matter where they live. Being an indie musician means working within the industry, not totally solo. No one does it alone.
4. Being a Musician is Never Going to Go Away, So You Might As Well Do It Well Now.
I released my first record when I was 40. If I had listened to my mind telling me I was too old, I never would have touched 40,000+ people’s lives with my music. There is no greater time than the present to get into action, matter of fact, it’s all you have. Stop living in the future or in the past and just do it now. Lucinda Williams was 48 when she made it. There are many other stories, especially today. Stop worrying about how long It takes, Just do it. Dreams are more than possible, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.