Are you in need of some tips for singer-songwriters trying to make it in the exciting world of entertainment? Do you secretly dream of performing your original music live all over the world and selling diamond records? Well, I do! And that’s why I know it’s hard to get going. So, I’ve come up with some tips for singer-songwriters that could give you that little push that you need to start your music career!
1. To Go Solo or Not to Go Solo
One of the first tips for singer-songwriters that I can think of is deciding on your performance status. Are you going to be completely solo like Alicia Keys? Would you want to be part of a duo like The Civil Wars? Or maybe you want to be in a full band like Fall Out Boy? Either way, it’s good to know where you stand from the beginning so you can start looking for other band members, looking at venues where you can eventually perform, etc. But also remember that solo acts and duos can evolve into full bands over time! So don’t feel rushed to put a full band together (that can be quite a process sometimes). If it’s meant to be, your paths will cross.
2. Make a YouTube Channel
If you don’t already have one, make your own YouTube channel, solely dedicated to your music. I would suggest uploading a cover of a popular song as your first video (my duo’s first was Hit Me Baby) because people will be more inclined to listen to a song they already know over an original song from someone they’ve never heard of before. Uploading your first video might be a little scary at first but just have fun with it. Remember that you’re introducing yourself to the world with your first video, so make it something that truly brings out your style!
3. Make Business Cards
This may seem old-fashioned but trust me, they work. Make sure that your cards have your name (or band name) , contact info (phone number and email address) and your YouTube channel link or website. You never know whom you can run into that might be able to help you along the way, or who might be potential fans, so it is always good to have them on hand. (For cheap business cards, check out vistaprint.com.)
4. Open Mic Nights
The first time I went to an open mic, I was terrified, but I also ended up having a lot of fun. The great thing about them is that you are surrounded by other singer-songwriters just like you who will always be supportive. Open mic nights are great places to meet people, get over stage fright and open up doors for your own gigs.
5. Record a Demo
Demos are usually about 3-4 songs (originals, covers or a mix of both). The songs don’t have to be perfectly mastered and mixed, just make sure you have a good microphone and you’re set. You can upload your songs to Soundcloud or Bandcamp, whichever you prefer. Once you have tracks you can send to people so that they can hear what you’re about, you’re ready for the next step...
6. Book Your First Show
Look at venues that book bands similar to the genre you play and shoot them an email with your press kit. That usually includes a short bio, a picture or two, when you’re available to play, how many people you can draw and of course, any videos you would want them to see and your demo.
PS: Most booking agents don’t like downloading mp3s,so it would help if you just pasted your Soundcloud link in the email.
7. Promote, Promote, Promote
This tip is key to your success. Make a Facebook fan page, a Twitter, Instagram, etc. And post about your music ALL THE TIME. Post about your shows, link to your YouTube covers, start an email list, etc. I even text my entire contact list every time I have a show and every show I get new people to attend.
These tips for singer-songwriters are the first steps to your success in this business! Any career in the arts is always rough at first but once you know what your goals are, the only thing to do is stick to them! Are you a singer-songwriter waiting for a break? What helps you?