How to go from a little girl with a guitar to a professional?
July 13, 2009 10:17 PM Subscribe
No one tells you how to be a musician in high school. What should I be doing? I feel like playing open mics and blindly sending out demos isn't the right way to do it. I can't even play at bars because I'm under 21. Any advice?
posted by lhude sing cuccu to media & arts (42 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
So, I am only 18 but you don't stay 18 forever. David Bowie was releasing records with Decca when he was 17, and this haunts me every day. (David Bowie is kind of my template...the only part that's working so far is starting out solo and acoustic.)
I moved to Chicago when I was 17 because I wanted to get out of my town (Roanoke, VA) and network and become a musician. I ended up just making a long list of venues I could theoretically play at...when I'm 21 and with a backing band! I ended up doing nothing in Chicago, really. I met someone who started his own record label but nothing materialised, and I started kind of bands with a few people...but that never works out.
I grew up teaching myself about the music industry with outdated books from the library, and when I realised you can't just send a cassette and a picture to major labels to solve all your problems, my world just crashed. I can't keep up wih technology fast enough to know which path is the professional one, and which leads to being some hack in my room posting my songs online to an audience of 5.
So, it's just me, a little girl with a guitar, who aspires to be someone important. I've decided to put aside all my anxieties ("I get sick too often to tour!" "I need stable relationships too much!") and just try it, or hate myself forever. I've moved back from Chicago, and I plan to start getting credits in theatre, education, and/or French, but I don't know what I'd do with that degree. Then I want to move to Portland, OR (I've already started that venue list) and play open mics, any all-ages venues...alone, with my electric guitar and maybe a tape player...and ask around for a manager/agent.
This seems wrong. I've got a lo-tech website, and I could record a real demo if I wanted. But it all seems pointless and not right.
Any advice from musicians or other creative-types on what I should be doing? I know I'd need a "real" job, but the only other thing I want to do long-term would be working in theatre, but everyone knows that's just as bad a business. I have these ridiculous ideas on how to incorporate theatre into my music shows that don't exist yet, but I can't really do much, just me and my guitar, to really set me apart. I also like, and want to write, the kind of music no one else is really into but old men (who I don't really feel so good about working with, frankly). So I'm sort of just assuming the only way I will find anyone wanting to play with me is by just playing places and hanging out afterwards. I'm not really naturally extroverted either, so I'm not a big networker. But I have no idea how to start on that, either. ("Hey, stranger, do you know anyone who can help me with publicity?") I could put up my own 11x17 posters to my own little low-key solo performances and hope for the best, but that just seems sad.
I work best with concrete lists, and the world of music is anything but concrete, so anything resembling a list would be marvellous!