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....