We are extremely excited and proud to present the first in a series of posts written by our extraordinary Board of Directors for The Musicians Foundation.
We’ve asked Jody to share her very unique perspective and words of wisdom on being an artist in our ever-changing industry. Enjoy!
7 Effective Tips for Musicians and Aspiring Artists
by Jody Watley
Being an artist for decades, I continue to learn, grown and evolve. The process never ends and it keeps me from becoming jaded or bored.
There are different levels of artistry and musicianship from the; hobby, casual, local, independent to the aspiring superstar. There is no “one size fits all” for any musician or artist. What worked for someone else might not work for you. You have to find what works for you every step of the way – remember it’s your journey. Be fearless, know and define yourself. If you allow others to do it – you’ll be trapped in their box and definition and not the one you created.
1. Be Prepared.
Be prepared to work hard, for opportunities that you will have to create for yourself as well as be prepared when they present themselves. Be prepared to be professional remembering a first impression can be a lasting one. Be prepared to wear multiple hats and never assume (even with a manager) that anyone will look out for you more than you will for yourself.
2. Be Flexible.
Have your goals and plans in place so you have some sort of navigation on what and where you’re going in your field.
3. Build Relationships.
Don’t burn bridges – it’s a large industry but a small business. People move around and you never know how paths will cross. Build a good reputation and goodwill that can last throughout your career. Be punctual, professional and never spam a contacts inbox with unsolicited mailing lists. Establishing relationships takes time.
4. Research, Read and Be Responsible.
Learn about the business in your chosen field and stay current on laws, copyright, publishing, new services for artists, writers and musicians, branding, effective marketing and promotion in all areas. Read books and blogs where you can learn about building a fan base, effective social media practices, live concerts, selling merchandise and beyond. It’s a never ending process. Read and understand your agreements, even when seeking legal counsel. There is no failure unless you never try.
5. Invest in Yourself.
You will have to spend money; be it for a professional bio, public relations person, graphic design, merchandise, etc. Budget and plan.
6. Consistent Imaging.
It’s important to have continuity in all that you do, as it represents you and what impression you’re giving fans, colleagues and industry professionals.
7. Be patient.
Nothing worthwhile happens overnight. Expect obstacles, turn them into stepping stones. Believe in yourself when it may feel like you’re the only one. Keep pushing forward and always be your own biggest critic – this will keep you from becoming complacent.
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