Music Bizz Advice

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Stephen S, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    Ok I'm 16 and I play drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, and I sing. I'm working on making a complete album, or a really good demo to send out to record labels. I still have dreams of success. Now since I'm doing all of this on my own, without a band. What would be the best way to sell myself. I dont have a band so I wouldn't be able to play shows on my own. Advice. I'm looking for any kind of advice. Don't crush my dreams please with the "no one ever makes it". I'm kinda wandering aimlessly right now and I don't know what to do once I get past the finished demo stage.
  2. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    No one will crush your dreams here. But I do think a dose of reality is what I would prescribe. An education is the key. There are many ways in which to have success in music. Learning and mastering your craft takes many years of hard work. Study, practice and study some more, there are no short cuts.

    Set yourself up so that you will be able to eat while you are doing so. I have been playing for many years and am still a novice to most guys here, and most of them have jobs outside of music to make ends meet.

  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    It is admirable that you have developed enough expertise in all those instruments to record your own album, but as you say you can't perform as a one-man band.

    One course of action you might consider seriously is to either get in a band or start one of your own. This will prove to be a valuable experience for you, because I assume you do not plan to be a professional soloist.

    Being in a band will show you in a hurry where both your strengths and weaknesses lie as a musician and as a composer. Furthermore, it will give you vital experience and exposure if your band is lucky enough to have gigs.

    It is my understanding that it is very difficult to interest record labels in the work of musicians who have no experience with public performance, have no track record that demonstrates professionalism and who cannot show that they can work with others. You are very young, so you have at least a couple years to get this kind of experience under your belt. What will interest the labels is "street cred." That means performance experience.

    You need to know if your singing and your music actually appeals to an audience. You need to discover what they like and what they don't. You need to find out if you truly enjoy live performance in front of crowds.

    Rest assured I am not crushing your dreams. I'm trying to give you some advice on how to attain your dreams. That you have learned to play all those instruments shows your dedication and single-mindedness of purpose. You did the smart thing to ask for advice.

    There are some books that talk about such things. I think one is called "How to Make It in the Music Business" or some such. It has valuable advice about signing recording contracts, handling publicity for your band, submitting demos to labels, copyrighting your work, royalties, etc.

    Good luck to you in your endeavor.
  4. I'm in a similar situation, but on the opposite side. I'm trying to start my own label.

    You need a full band to pull your music off live. Be it hired guns or full time musicians that actually join the band, you cant pull off all of your music live by yourself.
  5. You want advice? Don't trust people automatically.
  6. Well, i personally think performing is the key to getting a record deal, cause record companies get thousands of demos everyday. Once you finish school, and you better finish school! Head to LA or New York and perform as the singer songwriter type if you dont have a band, you know with an acoustic or piano or something. Or get a band that will follow you completely and wont try to take away your spotlight, if your into that. But live is the key .
  7. You'd probably need a live band, at least. Record companies want you to perform to pick up audiences, so at least get a band going.
  8. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    I do have performance experience. I've played shows with my schools jazz band, and I had a band a few months ago that was playing all my solo material, we even played a gig. So I know for sure that I enjoy playing in front of a live audience. I see what you guys are saying and thanks for all the advice. For anyone who is interested my website is and our own tyler hole is hosting it for me. Please check it out.
  9. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca

    record companies want to sign artists who have already built up a respectable fan base, which can be had by tons and tons of live performances and this and that.

    also, don't underestimate the power of local media. once you have bigger gigs lined up locally, you can send a press kit to a newspaper, which will function basically as an ad, so that even more people will know that you and your band is playing at such and such.

    good luck.
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Give out business cards to everyone, try and get as many gigs as you can. Recording sessions probably won't come your way for a couple years, but they're a great way to build up a rep as having a pro attitude. Even if you've got gigs that don't play your original material, you're still building a reputation.
  11. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    if you were to perform live, which instrument would u play? since you can only play one at a time. (singing can be included with most other instruments at the same time)
  12. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    When my band played its gig I played bass and sang, but I'm thinking of putting together a collection of originals and covers for me to do with just an acoustic guitar and my voice. So I can start playing in front of live audiences.
  13. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK

    How should he trust you! Maybe that statement is not true!

    Don't trust her dude, she is "people" :D


  14. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA

    The first thing to do is, see if you can find anyone who wants to play it. If you can find three or four other people who can tolerate playing those same songs day after day, and stick with it till the band is ready for prime time, then chances are good that audiences (and A&R people) will be willing to listen to it too. That would be one of the acid tests for original music. Most of all, don't give up if things don't work out the first time through. Lawyers generally take five or six times to pass the bar. There are gazillions of musicians who've paid their five or six dues, and finally found the right combination of talent and material to ink a deal. Hang in there, and don't let the nay-sayers dissuade you. Most of all, have fun, and good luck with your efforts.
  15. Dave Grohl - Foo Fighters. Thus, I'm not gonna tell you that it can't be done. All I can say is that you should make sure that the demo is the best work you could do so that you give yourself the best chance to make it. Distribute the demo to as many people as you can and take all feedback and listen to it carefully. Chances are that what you produce first time won't be as good as your second if you listen to what credible sources have to say. Anyway, best of luck.

  16. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Further consideration of your question, leads me to suggest that you need to be very clear what kind of career you envisage in music and what kind of music you want that demo to contain. The three songs at your web site are quite different from one another, especially the Mexican Polka. I know you are young and have lots of time to work up a coherent and well-recorded disc to submit to labels.

    You say that you can't play all your instruments live, but actually you can--in a way. Most of the Sunday brunches here and many dinner restaurants have musicians who perform solo with a drum machine, some keyboards, a guitar, harmonica, even one has a Trinidadian steel drum. These musicans usually don't perform original music, but instead play an assortment of popular music suitable for restaurant crowds.

    You can do something similar. Some of the sidewalk cafes here have soloists who do some original, some popular and some requests in the early evening. You will, of course, need to have a repetoire of enough music to play the length of time your contract specifies.

    Such work would give you valuable exerience in public a little cash to boot.

    But, back to my original statement. I'm not clear what your long term plan is. Do you want to be a singer-songwriter such as Josh Groban or John Mayer, for example or do you want to front a band like Dave Mathews, for example or REM or are you interested in being a soloist and principle performer--like Justin Timberlake or Usher, for example or what exactly do you dream of when you are composing and recording music?

    You need to be clear, because when you know exactly what it is you want, you will have a better idea of how to go about getting it and what you need to achieve each year to lead you closer to that cherished goal. For example, you may discover that you will meet your goal faster by concentarting on just one of your instruments rather than playing all the others yourself on a demo. Or you may feel that being a virtuoso is an important element of your image.

    Select an artist who is currently successful who best represents what you want to achieve and try to find out how they did it. Even write to them if you can get your courage up. Who knows.? They might write back and give you some valuable advice.
  17. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    I haven't quite decided what I want my "sound" to be earlier I thought it would be cool to do an album or demo of songs on acoustic with some piano backing and vocals, keep it simple. I'm slowly falling in love with the idea.
  18. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Off to misc
  19. stu FORD

    stu FORD

    May 22, 2004
    do it keller williams style, buy a couple loopers, and sit arround practising with them until you can play one of your songs all by yourself, i just saw him last week, and he puts on a hell of a show