This week’s episode of The Unstarving Musician’s Podcast features yours truly, in solo fashion. There are a couple of noteworthy themes that have emerged from interviews I’ve done for the podcast and my book, the importance of networking and helping other succeed.
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Why networking is so important, and totally worth it
Allow me to begin with personal experience. Here are some forms of networking I regularly engaged in while in the SF Bay area.
I regularly visited venues with my wife, friends and/or bandmates (also my friends). If you enjoy wine, beer and food like I do, many venues serve such things. Get out and enjoy life at one of your favorite live music venues, preferably when the owner and/or booking contact is there. Don’t stop by just visiting, make sure to say hello to the owner, manager or booking contact. Schmooze if you will. This type of socializing helps keep you top of mind. Ask about upcoming open dates for booking your band, or ask if there’s anything you can do to help them out, like recommend another band.
Sitting in an open mic/jam events
If you read my book, you know that I found my initial tribe in San Jose, California by going to a blues jam run by Lara Price. Check out episode 4 to hear my conversation with Lara. You don’t even have to sign up to perform, although I recommend that you do sign up to play once in a while. There are benefits to just attending such events, because you’ll still have an opportunity to meet other musicians, and possibly discover some new venue contacts. Don’t forget to socialize (aka schmoozing). Show a genuine interest in others, and you’ll find it to be a much more rewarding experience.
Attending and hosting events for musicians
I’ve co-organized and attended events for musicians. Paul Kent (episode 9) hosts an annual holiday happy hour event. I’ve made countless musician friends at events such as these, and many of them have called on me for gigs, referrals, and more. Some of them are helping me find guests for this podcast.
Most of my podcast guests deliberately network with others in the music space. Lara Price talks about networking at length in episode 4, and has a great story based on her experience at Blues Awards. She was nominated for Soul Blues Female Artist of the year in 2017. It turns out that awards ceremonies are more than great parties. According to Lara, they’re great networking opportunities.
Chris Raspante told me in episode 2 of this podcast that networking and reputation are everything. He said, “It’s all about the hang.” Now based in his home state of Texas, the Dallas Fort Worth area to be more specific, Chris is a recording engineer, guitarist, songwriter who has worked with The Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt and Stan Lynch. He’s performed on The Tonight Show w/Jay Leno, and if a featured guitarist on the theme track of HBO’s True Blood. During time in Nashville, he clearly devoted tons of time to relationships.
When I asked John Wolff in episode 6 how he screens acts who will perform at the Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival, he said that it was mostly done through referrals & recommendations. He looks for artists who are not high maintenance or prima donnas. He also told me that he’s always had his pulse on music. This works for John, because he’s savvy when it comes to networking and relationship building.
The stories go on and on. And all of my guests preach showing up, doing the work, and being a nice person, which leads me to topic numero dos of this podcast episode–Why helping other musicians matters.
Why helping other musicians matters
I wrote about the importance of helping others in my book and have spoken with many people about the subject, for my book and this podcast, and they echo my sentiment. Sometimes it’s small favors, other times it’s much more.
Why do we do this?
Here’s what I think. We do it because it feels good to help others. We do it because we want to see others succeed, because we want to pay it forward, and because others have and would do the same for us.
If you’re ever at a loss as to what you can possibly do to help others within or outside of the music space, take comfort in knowing that little things and small gestures can be very meaningful to others.
I want this podcast to be about musicians helping musicians. There’s plenty of gigs, work and opportunity for us all. When we realize this our world opens up to limitless possibilities. So it matters that you help others. It matters that others help you. It matters that we help one another.
My hope is that I’m not just stating the obvious, that my rant serves as a little reminder for you to serve others, when the opportunity arrises. Thanks for reading.
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Peace, love and more cowbell.