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#950243 - 03/14/12 07:44 PM The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 99
Ricky Harris Offline
Serious Contributor
Ricky Harris  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 99
Nashville, TN, USA
I moved to Nashville years ago to pursue a commercial country career. All of the industry professionals I met said I had what was needed to be successful - personality, songs, look, etc. I was told I needed to do all the work myself so that a label would see that I had my act together and knew where I was headed. So I put together the website, had multiple photo shoots, recorded the EP, etc. Now I'm stuck. Neither my PRO (ASCAP) nor NSAI do anything for artists. They essentially only offer assistance to writers whose sole goal is to pitch songs to other artists. Having an established artist cut one of my songs would obviously help to bring awareness to me as an artist, and I'm open to that, but that doesn't feel like the path I should be taking at this point. One of my strengths is my charisma and stage presence but doing the songwriter thing doesn't showcase that. The other advise I have received is to get in with a manager or publisher because they are the new "record labels" and artist development. That sounds great. So how do I pull that off? Performing is an obvious one but I'm a solo artist and when sidemen cost a total of $200 per night, it is tough to perform out many nights.

I'm stuck and I can't figure out how to make the contacts I need. I've put in the time and money...now what? I am working my butt off trying to get ahead and do what I'm supposed to do. That is who I am and isn't going to change. I just don't know where to go now. Do I cold call managers? Do I hold a showcase? Hearing the music alone isn't going to get people interested unless they see the potential of the one song that was written and produced for licensing for TV, or the other that is unique and likely to become a catch phrase.

Your help is appreciated. I am open to all feedback. I have no ego in this. I just need to figure out that next step. Thanks to everyone for your input.


"Victory is what happens when ten thousand hours of practice meet up with one moment of opportunity"

RickyHarris.com
#950245 - 03/14/12 08:07 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Ricky Harris]  
Joined: Feb 2007
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
Kevin Emmrich  Offline


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Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,531
Crozet, VA
Ricky,

Contact MAB at http://www.marcalanbarnette.com/fr_entry.cfm -- he is your friend in the Nashville scene. He will help you chart a course that will be more conducive to success.

he does "for pay" things -- but he also does a heck of a lot for nothing!

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#950333 - 03/15/12 01:27 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,836
Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Posts: 6,836
Brunswick, Ga. USA
Humm,
The advice that you need to do it all yourself is sound. If you are not playing places you need to start finding places you can play. You may be able to do openings for other bands even if it is only a song or two. Labels want to know you have a track record. That means getting out there and letting the public see you. Not easy but necessary. Good luck.


Ray E. Strode
#950363 - 03/15/12 05:03 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,822
Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

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Posts: 7,822
Saint Petersburg. FL
Ricky,

How does the Ricky Harris Band strike you? You need to create a band with people who want to be in your band and will play for a share of the gig money. Keep the band small. Play as often as you can at as many different venues. Try and get gigs at festivals and large gatherings, not smoky bars. Play a few covers and lots of originals that are unique to you, even if you did not write them yourself (I know someone who can supply a few!).

You cannot expect to be taken seriously as a performing artist unless you perform. If you cannot get paying gigs in Nashville, do mini-tours to places where you can.

One of my friends who is an artist having some success breaking out went to Nashville and connected with a producer who helped her. Not sure publishers are the new labels.

I suspect you will be footing the bill for your manager, producer, etc. It takes money to make money.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#950806 - 03/17/12 09:40 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,531
Kevin Emmrich Offline
Kevin Emmrich  Offline


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Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,531
Crozet, VA
Ricky,

I think I see your problem -- no follow-up. You got folks here that gave you suggestions and you have ignored us. If you are doing that in Nashville, you might as well give up.

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#950871 - 03/18/12 02:02 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Ricky Harris]  
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,650
WriterTomYeager Offline
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WriterTomYeager  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,650
Harrisonburg,Virtginia
Hi Ricky

Well -you did ask for advice......So I checked out your website...In my opinion you need to take a chainsaw to your personal Bio for a start.

Cause its just incredibly detailed-and comes off as very vain for a unknown wannabe in Nashville....There are tens of thousands of wannabe's in Nashville as you know....People might wanna know every little detail about a well established major star-but not another wannabe....We know you all wanna make it and its tough and you enjoy this and that and whatever.....But to be honest-nobody cares....Save 99.9 % of that stuff for the day if and when you are a big star.....No offense.....

I am not a performer but I have seen alot of wannabe's get really jacked around by the Nashville dream machine......You can spend alot of time and money paying for the advice of experts....Or you can do it all yourself...I would be more impressed by a Calendar of appearances than an extensive bio of your young life...This is just a tough town and thats all there is to it.....You really really gotta want it beyond all rationality.....You mention "years" in Nashville....How many?

I have seen 5 piece bands of great singers and musicians play some real dumps all night long just for beer and breakfast money.....If you insist on going solo you gotta play ANYPLACE that will Let You and you gotta work the TIP JAR on your break.........You have to build a fan base......Times are tough as we know and you have to inspire people to spend 20 bucks to go out and see you versus 10,000 other wannabe's......Yes we know-you want it-you deserve it etc etc...They all do.....

You might consider hooking up with a band that is looking for a lead singer.....A band that already has some good paying gigs lined up........There are always bands looking for new members on Nashville Craigslist....Or you can post your own ad there.....You may be just what a band needs to catch fire or keep the fire going....If I were a band leader looking for a new member I would be much more impressed by a Calendar listing the worst gigs in Nashville than that extensive personal Bio which looks both vain and desperate at the same time...

You are just gonna have to network alot and tough it out...There aint no magic fairy dust in the music business..Theres so many talented/attractive/charismatic performers in this town that managers and labels just yawn when they see another one.....I have seen singers and bands in the Honkytonks that just stun me-I wonder why they arent national acts cause they are so much better than so and so-who is...But they are playing small stages and often to small audiences that are only half listening cause this town has seen it all...I dont envy you the challenge you face.....You gotta be real talented and real tough and the rest is luck......Thats why they call it NashVegas....

Hang in there buddy-good luck!

Tom

#950982 - 03/19/12 11:18 AM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: WriterTomYeager]  
Joined: Jan 2007
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Z. Mulls Offline
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Z. Mulls  Offline
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Ricky

I have to agree 100% with Tom. You're going about this all backwards. You've put a lot of money into your website and your photos, you're looking for contacts to shine as a performer (because the songwriter night thing doesn't let you show your stuff), you have your CDs ready for download....but I'm not seeing any actual performance track record on your website.

There's no gig list -- where you've played and where you're going to play. I do see a forum for your fans to communicate with you, which really feels as presumptuous as your overlong bio. You've created a website to promote yourself as a star, not as a business tool to build something.

The folks who are successful, that I've met, are performing all the time. Anywhere and everywhere. One singer I know sold CDs out of her trunk for two years, to anyone who would buy them, all over the US, to earn herself a fanbase.

The piece of advice you'll hear on this board, over and over, is that those contacts you're hoping to get, they will come to *you* when you have something that is valuable to *them.* Become valuable, be your own advertisement, convince people they want your CDs by performing.

Tom's suggestion of hooking up with a band, that's looking for a performer, is a good one. You'll get gigs, you'll get a reputation for showing up and doing the work, you'll develop relationships with other musicians who will be with you later in your career, you'll get to perform....you'll have to perform songs by other band members, but hopefully you'll get to include some of your own songs.


ZMULLS.COM
My Soundclick

2007 Grand Prize Winner International Songwriting Competition

Avatar Photo by Diana (used with permission)
#951015 - 03/19/12 03:18 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Z. Mulls]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 99
Ricky Harris Offline
Serious Contributor
Ricky Harris  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 99
Nashville, TN, USA
Thanks to everyone for your input. Sorry for the delay in responding to everyone. I work two jobs, seven days a week with the bulk of the hours being Wednesday through Sunday. Many apologies to anyone who thought I was being unprofessional for not responding.

I will try to address everyone's comments. I truly appreciate everyone's help. Overall, I completely agree regarding playing out. That is my issue. I will perform anywhere, anytime but I haven't figured out how to a) book the gigs and b) how to afford paying the band folks. As recommended, I have posted ads on Craigslist for band members, working with other groups, etc. If I indicate that it is a paid gig, I get flooded with responses. Trying to form a band or work with an established band gets no responses. Zero. I completely agree about playing regional gigs and festivals. I want and need to be playing festivals this summer. I don't know how to book those types of gigs nor how to pay for all of it, including the musicians. Without musicians who are willing and able to take the hit and work for tips or a split of any income from the gigs, how do I pull it off? This is an honest, legitimate question. I simply don't know how to pay for it or book the gigs. I've spent the last 6 years working on the songs, pitching, networking, etc...as I've been told to do. I have no knowledge or experience booking gigs or forming a band and have found no one here to offer guidance so I am completely open to help or advise from others.

Regarding the bio, I am happy to change whatever. That was put up there based on the input of various sources including a paid industry professional. I am happy to change it. I have tried to listen to what the industry folks have told me to do. I want everything to be as effective as possible. Do I pay a different professional to write another bio? Based on what everyone is saying, it doesn't really matter...what matters is the gigs...which is exactly what I am asking for assistance in.

This isn't about ego for me. I write and sing to affect people in a positive way. I do it because people say I have that X factor. I do it because I feel called to do it. I made 6 figures before I decided to pursue this path. For the last several years I have made less than 10k and have slept on people's couches. I will do what is necessary to get in front of people. I just haven't figured out how to do it nor found anyone to give me specific guidance. The feedback here helps and is supportive, but it is pretty general. I will do what I am told. I know I need to play gigs and go to festivals. What I don't know is how exactly to make that happen. Whom do I contact? How do I pay for it? This is the area I lack knowledge and is the area the professional songwriting organizations have not been able to advise me.

Thank you so much to everyone for your help and input. I'm sorry if I sound frustrated. I agree with everyone. I've tried what several of you have suggested. I want to implement what you are indicating I should...I simply don't know how. Your help and input are very much appreciated. Every little nugget helps.


"Victory is what happens when ten thousand hours of practice meet up with one moment of opportunity"

RickyHarris.com
#951017 - 03/19/12 03:37 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Ricky Harris]  
Joined: Jan 2007
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Z. Mulls Offline
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Z. Mulls  Offline
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Ricky

It sounds to me like you're doing all the "right" things and have the "right" attitude; but there is never a guarantee that doing the right things will actually lead to something, it just means you have a better shot.

It looks to me like you play the guitar and are ready to perform. You'd like to work with a band but you can't pay for one and haven't had success hooking up with like-minded folks who want to play out with you. Is that the situation?

What can you do without a band? And I don't just mean singer/songwriter nights, can you get out there with a guitar and perform? How far afield have you travelled?

The folks I know who are out there aren't travelling with a band -- too expensive; they travel with one other person. Seth Glier plays piano/guitar, and his sideman Ryan Hommel plays guitar/bass. Coles Whalen plays piano/guitar and Kim O'Hara plays bass. Jen Foster usually goes out alone, though one time through she brought a percussion guy. I saw Maia Sharp perform at the Tin Angel, just her and one other gal, and she even made a point of saying "We're here to prove you don't need a percussion section".

If you could hook up with one solid guy, who also had songs to sing, you could work together, backing each other up.

Do you do any session work (vocals or guitar)? Have you ever? That's another hard nut to crack, but it's another way to meet people.

Nobody is giving you too specific advice because it's different for everyone. The more people you meet, the more people you know and the more chance you have of meeting more people, and eventually (hopefully) you meet that person or people that meshes with you.

Ricky, it sounds like you know very well what cat you need to skin, but haven't found quite the right way to skin it yet.


ZMULLS.COM
My Soundclick

2007 Grand Prize Winner International Songwriting Competition

Avatar Photo by Diana (used with permission)
#951024 - 03/19/12 03:58 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Z. Mulls]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,822
Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content

Top 25 Poster

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,822
Saint Petersburg. FL
Ricky,

Booking gigs is about two things.....contacting the hiring person and asking them to book you, and connections. Nashville is probably not typical because there is a musician under every tree, but in other places, you find out what is going on and when, and start contacting the organizers several months in advance.

There is probably a website that list all Tennessee festivals for instance. Get on line and find a few you wish to play at that are at least three months out, use the contact email address on the site or phone number, and send the people your information and website. Offer to send your press kit. Start a dialog with someone there and get them interested in you. You should be able to command a price of a few hundred dollars if they like you. Get a few booked then line up the band members. It's not a bad idea to have someone else make the contact as your "representative". Once you have done some, you should have made connections to build on to help you get more.

If you need Craigslist to find musicians, you are not part of the music scene. Why don't you know people who can play the instruments you need? You gotta get out there among 'em. If you were here, I could tell you exactly where to hang out to meet people but I don't know Nashville.



Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#951029 - 03/19/12 04:03 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Ricky Harris]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,605
DonnaMarilyn Offline
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DonnaMarilyn  Offline
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Netherlands
Ricky, have you ever considered traveling around - just you and your guitar - doing 'house concerts'?

Here's one person who does this very successfully.
http://www.susanenan.com/

I met Susan in Rotterdam, where a friend of mine was hosting her, and we keep in touch from time to time. The next time she comes to the Netherlands, and to Delft, I'll be hosting her at my place.

Her concert was wonderful, and she definitely made new fans. Even sold a few CDs. We were a cosy, intimate group of about 20 people, and everyone bought at least one CD. We each paid a cover charge of, I think, 5 or 10 euros, and it was well spent. Delicious snacks and tea/coffee/juices and other beverages (e.g. wine) were provided. The evening was wonderful, and it was a tremendous opportunity to get to know the artist (and for her to get to know her 'new fans').

She stays in free accommodation everywhere she goes. Her only expenses are for actual traveling and whatever personal expenses she may have.

There are a couple of organisations that help set up house concert itineraries. Perhaps you could contact one or both of them. I forget the names offhand, but a google search will throw them up.

Donna

PS I'm with the others that much of that bio text needs to go. Also, reading white text is very hard on the eyes. For a lot of web designers, it's a big no-no. I suggest black text on a lighter background. It looks much fresher as well.


Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend

Guild of International Songwriters and Composers


#951057 - 03/19/12 07:49 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Ricky Harris]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,531
Kevin Emmrich Offline
Kevin Emmrich  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,531
Crozet, VA
Originally Posted by Ricky Harris
... I do it because people say I have that X factor. I do it because I feel called to do it. I made 6 figures before I decided to pursue this path. ...


... I think you are nuts -- take the six figures and write, perform and record as a fun hobby. You are not going to get paying gigs in Nashville - everybody is playing for free.

But if you are serious about the Nashville scene, hook up with MAB and get into the co-writing game. I just listened to your five snippets of your songs at your web site. I just don't think you understand how high the quality bar is. Those songs were fine and all that -- but they are not going to set the world on fire. You need to start co-writing with other writers, do writer's nights for free, support other artists and become a friend to the slew of folks in the same boat as you.

Sorry if I seem too negative, but I just think you are one of the thousands doing it in Nashville with nothing to make you stand out in the crowd. But if you have to do it, do yourself a favor and contact MAB.

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#951368 - 03/21/12 04:17 PM Re: The next step Nashville for an artist...Publisher? Manager? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 99
Ricky Harris Offline
Serious Contributor
Ricky Harris  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 99
Nashville, TN, USA
Thanks for the information everyone. Very helpful. I will post another ad today seeking players.

Yes, I do some session work on vocals Z but that hasn't led to anything else.

I think the house concert thing would be a lot of fun Donna but from the research I had done in the past, the type of folks who hosted those events weren't the type of folks who listen to contemporary country rock. Doesn't mean it can't happen but with the limited time I have, I need to try to focus on what will grow my brand the fastest.

Colin - great info. I would tend to agree in theory about finding musicians and not needing Craigslist but my experience in Nashville has been that people have no interest unless you are paying. I keep asking though because one of these times someone is going to say yes. :-)

Thanks Kevin for all your input. I am doing and have done what you are recommending - co-writing, playing out, etc. I approach people every time trying to get something going. The songwriting folks seem to be a different set of folks than those wanting to form a band. But I will keep at it.

Thanks again to all for your help. Back to the grindstone...


"Victory is what happens when ten thousand hours of practice meet up with one moment of opportunity"

RickyHarris.com

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