Now shipping....

Ok, so I admit the title is a little cliche, however, as I write this my mailbox is full of messages that have caused me some concern of late.

First of all, I want to qualify all that I am about to say by saying:

1) I'm certainly no expert.
2) I make my living as a player and arranger. I rarely, if ever, produce records, and when I do, they are certainly not big chart hits. (yet!)
3) I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY mean all of this with ALL humility, and my intent here is to advise younger players who are just jumping on the music biz "ladder".

So.....having said all that, like I mentioned, my inbox is full of messages from guys looking for work. A couple of these guys I know, but MOST of them I've never heard of.

I remember being fresh out of Belmont, hungry for work (geez, hungry for FOOD!!) and trying every trick in the book to get gigs. I sent out demo cassettes (yeah, it was that far back), I point blank asked anyone I knew who hired players, produced records, whatever. It never worked. Ever.

Being on the other side of it, I feel like I should just offer this piece of wisdom: (and here's where you need to remember that part about me meaning this with all humility) I"m just telling you the truth. No producer in town is EVER going to hire you because of some email he got letting him know you're looking for work. The stakes are just too high. The only way it happens is keeping your head down, doing a good job, playing whatEVER gigs you can find, and IF YOU'VE GOT THE GOODS, trust me.....people WILL find out about it. Players will talk. They always do.

I know I'll probably get some responses along the line of "hey, I wasn't expecting to be on the next Rascal Flatts record, I'm just trying to let people know I'm available." Well....I do understand that, but I gotta tell ya, I think (in my humble opinion) you end up shooting yourself in the foot. The problem is just the sheer volume of emails everyone gets. It becomes more of a nuisance than anything, and ultimately, I'm sure there are some PHENOMENAL players out there who end up being associated with a negative impression.

Listen, Nashville is poised to explode in the near future, and I think there is gonna be a LOT of work for everyone, and I truly wanna see the younger, newer faces in town succeed. I'm not sure I even have a good answer for an alternative. I was speaking with a friend about this (who is suffering from the same flood of emails) and he suggested maybe instead of mass emails, perhaps just doing a personal blog talking about who you are, what you do, etc. That sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

One thing I have learned in my 27 years in this business: It is virtually impossible to rush the process. In my experience, EVERY good thing that has happened to me career-wise, has just fallen into my lap with very little effort from me. (You know what I mean....I worked my tail off on the musical side, practicing, etc., but no effort on the PROMOTIONAL side).

Ultimately, I think it's just what I said before. Keep your head down. Play whenever and wherever you can. Don't offer your opinion. Keep your mind and your eyes and ears open and be willing to learn. If you truly have the goods, people WILL find out about it.

In the meantime, PLEASE give my inbox a minute to take a breath! ;-)

Love and kisses....

Tim Akers

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Beautifully put...and TRUE!!!
Tim, I'm johnny come lately on this... joined this site a year ago, then bailed out... and then after numerous re-invitations, rejoined with some trepidation.

My mailbox on myspace often has an email from someone wanting to meet me so they can bend my ear about session work and live gigs... What's in it for me? Without exception- a cup of coffee. Maybe a Bombay and Tonic would get me a little more excited. I've actually told a few that I'd be happy to get with them and that my consultation rate is $100 per hour. This weeds out the faint of heart quite quickly.

I moved here thinking I'd be a Christian solo artist, never imagining a career as a sideman or a songwriter. Maybe my short lived CCM artist career had something to do with the Bombay and Tonic. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the unusual way things have unfolded. I'm still here, and I'm not trying to buy anyone a cup of coffee yet; although I will buy you a gin and tonic if you like, Tim.

The opportunities which have been given to me are more deserved by better players, and by better women and men. For everyone reading this, there are 100 people in this town who are more talented and skilled than you. Things just happen. Sometimes you are the person for the gig, and sometimes you're not. Sometimes getting the gig might be because you've got cooler shoes than the other guy. Or the artist's mama likes you. Or you really are the badass that your significant other says you are.

The best gigs have come to me when I have maintained a thankful attitude and when I've acknowledged that I'm fortunate to have one more opportunity.

Over 3 decades ago, I mused about playing with one of the greatest artists of our time. Last year, I was having lunch with Jimmie Lee Sloas when someone from Vector called and said "Emmylou Harris would like you to be a part of her band for 2008". I shed a tear, and Sloas thought someone had died.

All I knew was another undeserved kindness had befallen me.
Actually Phil, there are a thousand people better than me in town...but I'm usually always the right person for the job! LOL (and yes, I am literally 'laughing out loud')
Nice to connect... I think the last time we spoke was over a pint a picnic table in a London local. We were both the right people for that job! Hope all's well.
You're not wrong about that Phil!!!
While I agree with a lot of what has been posted here, especially Tim's comments on the impossibility of rushing the process, I don't get what the big deal is about having to answer a novice's questions. I believe in all my heart that I have been blessed with a long career in music, precisely because I haven't tried to own it. I have never gotten a call for an audition without going through my email list of singers to see who I could forward it to. I have been a working musician for all of my adult life, before that I pumped gas at Hess, wore a bunny outfit at The Playboy Club and cleaned stalls at Meadowland's Racetrack. Singing for a living is a rare honor and if I have to go to some girl's myspace and listen to a song and offer a suggestion it's a lot easier than trying to make change when your hands are frozen at Hess.
Believe me, I get it. You can't meet everyone for coffee and the reality is sometimes it's not easy to find the best way to say, "you might want to continue singing in your church choir back home... I'm not thinking session work is for you" - but I hope I always know how lucky I am that someone wants to know how to do what I do.
VERY WELL PUT BRITT!!!!! We're all blessed to be doing what we love....I know there are those that try to suck the life out of you and advance quicker than what seems feasible but I never mind talking to young players/singers and giving them pointers.
I haven't commented on this thread in a long time, but I feel the need to weigh in here. I think the point I was making has gotten lost in the shuffle a little bit.

I am ALWAYS willing to help someone out by offering advice, in fact, I encourage that type of mentoring. However, my ORIGINAL gripe was this growing trend of late to send out MASS emails to everyone on your address book about every single gig, or in the interest of trying to GET gigs......personally, I just don't think that approach works. At all. Since I wrote that post, over a year ago, one guy (who shall remain nameless) has taken to sending out mass notices to everyone for every single excruciating detail of his life.....what session he is on that day, who he is working with,'s maddening. While I have respect for him as a musician, I offer that he is not only not getting MORE work by doing that, rather, he is actually turning people off in the process.

That is all I was saying....
got cha...Nice Tim!
ditto, Tim~

my point about having a cup of coffee with someone seems to have overshadowed the real point, and that is all one can do is accept what comes along; clamoring for "success" has never worked for me, at least.

I have met with and will continue to meet with people who think I'm more "in" than I have ever been or will be. Nonetheless, it does pile up, and when someone's concept of your time being worth a cup of coffee, well, you get the point. I'm totally blessed to get to do what I do, and ultimately have no answer about "making it", except to say "at what price?" and "play as much as you can".

And Tim, you strike another interesting point... those of us who maintain an internet presence invite the entirety of cyberspace to invite us to coffee....

Very well said, " Cream always rises to the top " No matter how you shake up the milk-
If its a job you're in the wrong business
Tim.. I enjoyed reading this little blog this morning.. Thanks for sharing.


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