Take Your Music to the ‘Next Level’: Independent Artist tips
I have my own recording studio in Minneapolis, and if I had a dollar for every time I hear independent singers and songwriters say, “I want to take my music to the next level.” I would have as much money as Simon Cowell. Seroiusly, I hear it over and over again. It got me thinking about that statement today. What does that actually mean?
If you are a singer or songwriter and you say, “I want to take my music to the next level,” what does that mean to you? I can almost guarantee that it means that you want to be rich and famous. You want to quit your crappy day job and do, “what I have wanted to do since I was a little kid.” Am I right? Well the first thing you really should do is ask yourself what level you are really on right now. I would dare to bet that 98.67% of you are at level 1. Level 1 is where you sing karaoke every once in a awhile, or you sing around the house and your friends and family think you are the next American Idol. Other than singing to the radio or the occasional live karaoke experience, you probably aren’t doing much more for your music career. You are not one step away from stardom. That may be hard to hear, but you have to be honest with yourself. If the previous description describes you, your next level is not being a platinum recording artist. You need to be realistic. Your ‘next level’ should be to get a high quality demo recorded. Get an actual product that you can start marketing yourself with. Keyword there is ‘yourself.’ You are dreaming if you think one demo recording is going to attract someone who will ‘make you a star.’ It could get you attention, but you are the one who needs to develop your career. Labels and agents do not want to spend money or time developing artists anymore. They want someone who is already making money, so they know there is already an audience. It takes the risk out.
So what is the next level?? You really should invest the time and money yourself and make a demo that you can sell to friends and family…since they obviously think you are a star already, they should throw out some cash. Then once you have your CD or downloads ready, you NEED, NEED , NEED to get a good website that showcases your music and your image. THEN, you need to start booking yourself to sing at whatever you can find. Yes, this means singing for FREE at even small gigs where there may be 3 people. Look for open mics, art festivals, fairs, school events, churches….anywhere they may want someone to come entertain. Do it for the exposure and ask to sell your CD’s. Now you have some gigs you can actually promote on your website, and an avenue to sell more CD’s and get more fans. After you do this for awhile, the next level would be starting to look for PAYING gigs. By this time, you should have a pretty extensive resume of places you have performed and you are starting to get known as an artist. These paying gigs may not be much bigger than your free ones, but it is the next step on the ladder. Only after you are performing on a very regular basis, bringing in fans and selling lots (thousands) of CD’s, would you be close to moving into the level that you dream of.
You may actually be surprised how much money and satisfaction you get from doing everything on your own. You will start to see that having a ‘record deal’ is not what it is always cracked up to be.
So for those of you looking to take your music to the ‘next level’….figure out what level you are at right now. What are you doing this week to advance your music career? — Chad C-Sharp Productions
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Tags: American Idol, digital downloads, gigs, independent artists, independent music, karaoke, Minneapolis Recording Studio, promotion, record deal, sell more CD's, simon cowell, singers, songwriters