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Artist Survival Manual III

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Artist Survival Manual 3 Section A: Publicity Section

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Artist Survival Manual 3a

Introduction To Phase Two:

You have already experienced the words that begin with a "P" that influence the artist's life. You have met with a "producer", gotten songs from a "publisher," recorded in the studio with the "players," and decided to "package" yourself as an artist for hire. That all took "preparation and planning." You should have already accomplished these first steps:



Welcome to the next five words that begin with the letter "P" that will be with you from this moment on as a recording artist. In this section of the book, I am going to do my best to explain the five words that will be a part of your life forever as a successful recording and performing artist in the music business. They are as follows:


Literally, these ten words that begin with the letter "P" govern the entire course of the artist from the beginning of his career to the pinnacle of his career. In this section it will be my responsibility to discuss the "P" words after the artist has recorded and how they apply to the future of his/her career. During the next twelve months of development, you will want to know what to buy, what to do, what not to do, how to plan, take action, and succeed. You'll want to know what to read, what tools are available for you to use, and how to go about doing the work that you are so excited about, and that's performing for an audience and making money doing it.

What I've included with this volume is a check-list of the things you should be doing each and every month of your development. One thing's for certain, and that's this, if you don't do the things in this volume, then your career will end right where it began with an "idea" and no follow through. Remember, a lot of people have great ideas, and they're brilliant, but if they don't have the patience and determination to carry them through, then they never accomplish their goals.

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W - Waiting patiently during the various cycles of the music business, is a gift in and of itself. The longest wait that an artist ever experiences is from the time he records till the time he has his first product in hand. Don't feel like the "lone ranger." George Strait waited 9 months to get his first single

out after he recorded and many other great artists have waited much longer. So, while your product is being manufactured and it's getting ready to be shipped to radio, I've written an entire volume for you to read and given you lots to do to keep you occupied during the waiting periods. H - Have got to take your image seriously . The time between now and your product appearing at radio is the time to develop the image that you are going to be using for the next few years as an artist. All artist's hire an "image development consultant" for this phase to guide them in getting all of their publicity, promotional materials, biography material and ad campaigns together. Please let me recommend the most effective IDC team in Nashville to you. They are Image Plus International. The major labels spend over $150K annually on each artist that they are launching in "image development" alone. The single most important thing that you will ever do after you record is establish your image with an image development company here in Nashville. A "sample IDC contract" includes the basics. A - Artist's are " packages of product" that have to be sold to people who want to buy what they are offering. Remember, if you're offering the same old image, the same old songs, and the same old message that a 1000 other people are trying to sell, your career won't go very far. What you have to do is ask yourself, am I singing songs that are so good and different from other artists that I'm distinguishing myself in this field. Am I developing a fan following that is loyal to my songs, my music, and my image? T - The first thing is to "give the public what they want." The public will demand things from an artist. The very first thing is a picture that the artist can autograph for them, an

interesting biography that they can read, a newsletter that keeps them informed of what's going on in the artist's life, and music product that they can listen to and enjoy. All of this must be created and promoted to the public by the artist. No one at the record label can help you with this. This is something that must be truly you "inside and out," otherwise you'll soon be tired of promoting an image you're dissatisfied with. T - Thank you's are the key! I can't stress how important these are to you on a weekly basis. What surprises me continually as a producer is the idea that "superstardom" just happens. That's ridiculous. The people who are today's superstars in the music field have earned their way there. And they did it through hard work. Set aside at least one day per week and make up a list of people that you need to send "thank you" cards to for the week. This will separate you from the thousands who simply don't take the time to be appreciative. In the years that I've been producing artists, I can assure you that I vividly remember the ones who are appreciative and I go out of my way to help them accomplish their goals. The selfish, ego-centered know-it-alls, get no assistance from anyone after that attitude gets around on music row. O - Overwhelm them with class! As a new artist, you can literally overwhelm the people around you with who you are, and when they find out you are truly a person with genuine traits of appreciation, love for the business, loyalty, and all of the other great positive attributes of life, you are going to be remembered. It's not just thanking them once that overwhelms them. It's the patience to continue to thank them to the point that they are truly "overwhelmed" with the greatness of the artist and soon they are ranked right along

side of the other superstars that "overwhelm" people everywhere they go.

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D - Do it right the first time and you won't have to do it over! Ask questions that will give you direction in how to go about doing the various things that need to be done. Obviously, someone has traveled that road before you and there are lots of short-cuts to the top, if you'll just ask the right people. Go to the people you trust the most and ask them to be really honest with you. What are the things that I can do to help my career get off the ground right. The sad part about my job, is so many times when the artist winds up in my office they've already done so many wrong things, that it would take years to straighten out the mess they're in already. O - Overwhelm them with who you are! As a recording artist, you have a message to convey. That message must come across each and every time you're around the public. Remember, that you are always on display everywhere you go in the music business. Ask yourself, do I look the part of the superstar? Am I the complete, overall package that the rest of

world will take notice of and want to be like? Do I dress the part, live the part, and can I be the artist that the public wants to hear on a "national" & international level. If you rarely turn anyone's head at the mall, then you'll rarely turn anyone's head down on music row. You have to be so unique, so different and startling that you are someone who attracts others and gets noticed. A - Action! You more than anyone else will control the outcome of your own destiny. The doors of opportunity in our business swing on very small hinges. Be aware that you are going to meet people with influence everywhere you turn here in Nashville. So be on your best behavior at all times. If someone asked you to get up at a club in Nashville and sing an old standard for the A & R Director at a major label, could you do that? Would you know what key the song was in, have something memorized and could you bring it off at a moment's notice? If you can't than you're not prepared to be a sizable star in country music. Barbra Walters was a secretary at the network who prepared the text for her boss who was an anchor for the evening news. Her boss failed to show one night and the network producers asked her if she could go on in her boss's place? She went on and the rest is history. You won't remember the guy she replaced. So get prepared to sing anywhere, anyplace, and at anytime. F - Fabulous attitudes shine through! I truly believe that communicating with label people and your fans, your business manager, and others starts with the right attitude. People work harder for those who are appreciative of their work. Keep that attitude positive no matter what and you'll see the results you want. T - Timing is everything! Sometimes there are reasons for

things that happen that we just can't figure. One of the greatest superstars in Nashville saw his label go bankrupt just shortly after he recorded. His hopes and dreams were smashed at the time. He thought his life as an artist was over. However, it was the label that bought him out of bankruptcy that made him the success he is today. He would have never become so famous on the smaller label. So many of the things that might discourage us for a short time may be for our good in the long run. It's been well said that there's a time and place for each thing in our life. Randy Travis recorded as Randy Traywick, Randy Ray, and finally as Randy Travis. Harold Jenkins recorded as Conway Twitty only after he was unnoticed by the previous name his mother gave him. E - Each day is an opportunity! If you were starting a small new business in the basement of your house in your spare time, you would work on that business at least part of the day each and every day. Do the same with your music business. Work on your music each and every day whether you feel like it or not. The biggest songwriter's in country music don't write when they're inspired. No, they've learned to write whether they're inspired or not. You work from your pocketbook, not from your heart. One of the key's to staying in business for the artist is to diligently work the business so the business will work for you.

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R - Refuse the feelings of discouragement! Music is so much like any other business. There are going to be days when you want to quit, want to give up, and get discouraged. But those feelings should motivate you to accomplish that much more. If Colonel Sanders can start a successful chicken chain at age 68, then surely you can get through this week at age 18! I - I will be successful at this! Sometimes you have to put this little statement on your refrigerator and look at it every day. You can't accomplish anything that you can't imagine in your mind. So let yourself dream a little. Put a picture of your new eagle bus on your refrigerator. Put a picture of your name in lights on your notebook, and keep reinforcing that positive thought, "I will be successful at this!" Success comes to those who can truly see themselves in the role. If you can't imagine how it would be to fill in for Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, or Garth Brooks, then perhaps you could start by learning the words to the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, and a few other standards so that if on the spur of the moment, as a singer, you're asked to fill in, you won't be embarrassed by not knowing the words to the most common songs in the industry. R - Rejection should motivate you! Every major superstar in our business has a drawer full of rejection letters and negatives. The reason that they overcame such criticism and negativity is because they let rejection motivate them to reach higher than the rest of the field! Oh, and if you're reading this part and you haven't recorded, and you keep waiting around for some "tooth fairy" to show up on your

doorstep with the money to get you started, then keep waiting, because the rest of us that got started, did it through hard labor, sweat and lots of tears. And none of us waited on a major label to think we were good enough for them to "pay for everything." What a total crock! Get started now and anticipate the rejection of those lesser souls who can't keep up with the competition. Rejection goes with the job and the territory. The coach of the Dallas Cowboys told Troy Aikman after he had been knocked out during the super bowl, "Shake it off son, we came here to play football, this is part of the territory." Upon hearing that in the locker-room, Troy promptly returned to the game and played the second half even better than the first. There are no super bowl rings for the losers. Going into the music business, is just like making up your mind to run out on to the field with the Dallas cowboys and play in the Super Bowl. Are you ready? E - Every time you sing take advantage of it! For ten years, Alison Krauss played the bluegrass circuit, recorded on ® Rounder Records and had little or no recognition. Why in recent years has she won so many awards, had so many Grammy nominations, and found herself the Female Vocalist Of The Year at the CMA awards? She kept singing, on Rounder records when the major labels ignored her. She realized that every time you sing, it's an opportunity to get in front of people and influence them for good. It wasn't too long and she was influencing millions instead of thousands. Not too long ago, someone asked George Strait how he got 45,000 people out to hear him. He said, "Let's see, I've done about 45 albums and at least a thousand people bought a copy. Maybe that's how... one album at a time!" C - Cement your relationships! Wherever you decide to start in the music business, realize that you don't want to

burn any bridges. You want to cement your relationships with people for good. Take the time to develop your relationships and get to know the various people who are assisting you in your career. The secretaries and receptionists at the label houses can "help" you or they can pretty much "kill" you with the people who work there. So, remember to be kind to the people who are the "inlet" to the people you need to talk to. They will remember you vividly if you are the type of person that treats them with disrespect. Be so sweet to these people, they'll remember you as one of the "nice guys or girls" that call them and not one of the "whiners."

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O - Overwhelm them with professionalism! I can honestly say that if you can't even label a tape for your producer, you probably won't be able to keep up with a multi-million dollar career in the music business. If you are a professional, then act like one. Put your name and address and phone number on everything. Label everything like a professional. Put the people you are contacting on notice that you are a "professional." Type your lyrics out and do it in a commercial manner with the proper titles, movements included between verse and chorus, and your name and how to contact you at

the bottom of the page. Time your song to see if it's a commercial length and put the time and key signature at the top of the lyric. Almost from the moment you start to correspond with a label or producer, they are going to be able to tell a lot about you by the way your present yourself. Present yourself as a professional and read books on how to go about presenting yourself in a "professional manner." R - Run the race with patience! A national career doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen in 90 days and it doesn't happen in the first year. It takes about 2 years in development and at least 2 years at a major label to get started. Then it takes another 2 years for the career to really get going. It's like a college education really. Four years to get your degree, two years of graduate school, and then your first assignment and job. If you're the type to easily give up and be discouraged you won't have gotten this far in this book. These manuals are only for the those who aren't going to faint with the first bad review of their single record in Music Row Magazine. The first interview I ever had in Nashville as a songwriter was with a woman who was quite prominent at one of the performance societies in Nashville. She said after listening to my first song play about three lines, "Robert, this is the worst piece of **** I've ever heard on Music Row." Needless to say, our meeting was over and I left feeling about as low as a writer can feel. Those were her exact words. The only other thing she did, was tear up my lyric sheet in front of me and tell me to go home to Texas and stop writing because I could never compete here. Last year, that same woman came to my office and asked me for a job in the publishing department. D - Dare to dream big! You can't think small. You have to think big. If you are going to be a superstar that's "bigger than life" then you've got to start thinking like one. Dare to dream

bigger than you've ever dreamed before. Believe in yourself, believe in your music, and believe in others loyalty to that music. Accept constructive criticism and apply the principle, "Eat the fish and throw away the bones," to everything you hear and do in the music business. Some of what you will hear will be good for you. Digest that. During the course of learning some good things, you may come across some things that you don't agree with or don't accept. Throw those things away like a fish-bone. Don't let the jealousy or envy of others discourage you. Life's prizes are not always to the swift, but to the one's who know how to run the race. Knowledge is power and get all of the knowledge that you can possibly get in order to succeed. Just so you don't forget some of this advice, remember the three big "O's" for every singer/songwriter:

1. Overwhelm them with class! 2. Overwhelm them with who you are! 3. Overwhelm them with professionalism!

Hopefully, this introduction to phase two of the recording process will give you some guidelines that will establish you as one of the next great success stories in the music business.

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Twenty Steps To Personal Greatness

W - Wait patiently! H - Have got to take your image seriously! A - Artist's are packages of product for sale! T - The first thing is give the public what they want! T - Thank you's are the key! O - Overwhelm them with class! D - Do it right the first time and you won't have to do it over! O - Overwhelm them with who you are! A - Action! F - Fabulous attitudes shine through! T - Timing is everything! E - Each day is an opportunity! R - Refuse the feelings of discouragement! I - I will be successful at this! R - Rejection should motivate you! E - Everytime you sing, take advantage of it! C - Cement your relationships! O - Overwhelm them with professionalism! R - Run the race with patience!

D - Dare to dream big!

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