If you are sure that your music is good and you have a solid online presence but you still struggle with getting noteworthy gigs, the reason could be your approach. When I say your approach, I am referring specifically to the way you reach out to booking agents, event promoters and venues.
A lot of artists tend to send an email with their music, photo and bio attached and links to their videos in the body of the email. If that is your approach, that is the wrong approach. Professional agents, primarily those representing festivals and larger concerts, need one thing and one thing only, your EPK.
For those not familiar with an EPK, it is an Electronic Press Kit. When done right, an EPK should include everything about your career to date: photos, bio, press features, links to social sites, music, videos etc.
Once you have a good EPK then all you have to do is send a short email to the person doing the bookings and the only thing that should be attached is your EPK, nothing else. For more information on EPKs or to get one done send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
So the music industry has two different images, there is the image that you see when you are on the outside looking in. To many this either looks glamorous or difficult depending on whether or not you are trying to get your foot in the door. Maybe if you are a religious person it may also appear negative and dirty at times. The other image is the one that you see when you are inside the music business and you know a lot of the artists, producers and A&Rs personally and are around them when they speak professionally and socially.
When you are on the inside one thing becomes apparent; that is those who are doing music for the love of music and are not competing for status placement appear to be less stressed and somehow they seem to be loved and appreciated more by the public as oppose to those who get involved in the music industry and focus all their attention and energy on being bigger than others. Artists, Producers, Label Owners, Booking Agents, PRs and other professionals in music that are working in their respective fields because they want to work in that particular field and genuinely enjoy what they do and are not in competition with anyone tend to have a unique likeability about them. Persons seem drawn to them and they seem to get countless opportunities that allows them to continue to soar. More importantly they make decisions about their career from the right place and not a place of wanting to be above anyone. I believe with all my heart that the reason why so many urban music posters, flyers, CD covers etc. all have half naked women on them, and why calling our daughters, mothers and aunties a bitch has become the norm and why the overall lyrical content coming from youths today is not inspiring and uplifting is all because everyone is busy competing with everyone else. No one is making their decisions based on what they truly want to do. They spend all their time watching what others are doing and then tell themselves that they have to outdo them.
Unfortunately the persons involved in the urban music industry (hip-hop, reggae, dancehall, soca, R&B etc.) seem to be in constant competition with one another. It is said that ‘both the dancehall and hip-hop culture strives on competition and so it is necessary in these genres’. I fundamentally disagree with that statement! My position is that if each of us spend our time thinking, planning creating and executing ways to advance our careers then we will not see the need or even have the time to worry about what others are doing thus being unable to see them as competition. As for competing lyrically, I am an avid lover of both hip-hop and dancehall and history has taught me that not a lot of good can come from competing lyrically, yes it may be very entertaining to onlookers but have you ever stop to think about what it’s doing to the person in the competition?
In the interest of time I will close this article by saying that each one of us has unique talents and abilities that was given to us by the Creator therefore the only person we can and should compete with is ourselves. And we do that by challenging ourselves to become better every day.