So I had a very pleasant conversation with a potential-Nashvillian, and it got me thinking. Like every other “music pro” (quotes intentional) in Nashville, I have my list of advice, and I started to give it and then I realized… I HAVEN’T FOLLOWED THEM MYSELF! Ha!
1) Expect to work for free for 2-3 years. At a professional level. Depending on which market you’re in it can take multiple projects/albums. I’ve wrecked almost 3 potential careers by charging too early, or doing work that was sub-par. There may have been a time when you could make it on a “song and a dream” but 2011 is not that time. They want to know you’re serious (and they want to know what it will sound like when you’re done…) So, to get published you need to write a book. To get signed you need to release albums and tour. To be an orchestrator/arranger, you need to already have a body of work…
2) Build a property. They’ll come to you. They say that about film projects, but I believe it’s true about any form of entertainment or media: websites, conferences, books, bands, etc. The age of patronage is over. The moneybags wont show up (if they ever do) until you already have a following. And if you build a following and they don’t show up, who cares! You have a following!
3) Show up early to find that coffee-shop job. I was really unprepared for how difficult it is to find a part-time job in this town, but with 5 universities and a small army of semi-employed musicians and artists.. it really can be difficult. It took me 3 months (and I didn’t start looking until I had already spent through my savings…)
There are a few Nashvillians who read this blog: Any other suggestions, guys?