Making it in the Music Business - Soapbox Rewind
*NOTE* Charlie will be back with a brand new soapbox on Monday, in the meantime, here's a rewind from way back in 2003. - TeamCDB/BW
To you who have read this column for years this piece may seem a little redundant since I have written on this subject before. But it is such a frequently asked question that I feel I should revisit it from time
I am constantly approached by young people asking how to go about making it in the music business and some of the answers I give are probably not what they want to hear, but here I go again.
First of all, if you’re going to be in the music business you have to be somewhere where there is a music business. This usually necessitates moving to a major city, more than likely New York, Los Angeles or Nashville, since those are the cities where the record companies, recording studios, and the nuts and bolts of the music industry are located.
There is also Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis and a few other places where there is some action but basically the movers and shakers in the business operate out of one of the three aforementioned cities.
It is not impossible but the likelihood of a talent scout walking into the lounge of the Holiday Inn in Ponca City, Oklahoma and discovering you is slim indeed.
There is no yellow brick road and there is no roadmap. There are however a few tried and true pieces of advice I can pass along.
First of all, make up your mind to an absolute surety that you want to be in the music business. Remember that there are thousands of other people who want the same thing and you’ve got to want success just a little bit more than they do if you’re going to make it.
Success is pyramid shaped. There’s all kinds of room at the bottom but the closer you get to the top the smaller and smaller it gets until at the pinnacle there is only room for only one.
Be honest with yourself about the amount of talent you have. If you “sound just like Garth Brooks,” forget it. There is room for only one Garth Brooks and he does an admirable job of filling that niche, so be yourself, don’t copy other people.
If you’re not willing to be the first one to get there and the last one to leave, to work a little harder and put a little more into it than everybody else, don’t even try it.
If you can’t take abrasive criticism and crushing rejection, don’t give up your day job.
And there are also a few things to remember if you do make it. Just because you sell a few records and a few concert tickets, just because they play you on the radio and you appear on television and just because people want your autograph, it doesn’t give you the right to think that you’re one iota better than the fans who put you there.
If you treat somebody nice, they may remember it. But if you treat somebody badly you can bet your bottom dollar that they will remember it and tell everybody who’ll listen about it.
Humility is a virtue and goes a long way.
And lastly, I’d like to tell you something important. There’s not a thing wrong with playing your music part-time. There’s nothing wrong with staying at home and playing with a local band on weekends, holidays and such.
But if you’ve got a fire in your belly - and it’s got to be a HOT one - come on out here and let’s see what you’ve got.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels
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