They say no one gets to the top alone. That is true to any profession but especially to the ones in the arts. You see, in art-related professions like filmmaking and music-making, there is no concrete gauge for your talent especially if you’re still a newbie as opposed to new engineers or mathematicians- all they have to do is show their records or take exams to prove they’re good . It’s that black and white for them. With the arts, it’s well, a bit more complicated. It’s a combination of talent, taste,good marketing, and knowing the right people.
You need other bands. All of us need to push each other to the top. Going to the top alone could be daunting and lonely.
But some musicians are scared of even giving a quick smile to other musicians. For them, it’s just soooo gay. Just the thought of rubbing elbows with famous people gives them goosebumps. Some might not want to get friendly because they’re scared established bands would label them fake or as the ‘trying hard newbie who’d kiss anybody’s ass”. And some of us just don’t want to say hi because of our pride. “Who do they think they are? We’re all the same here. Why should I say hi first?” mentality.
But if you’re serious about increasing your contacts, here’s what you need to do if you want to gain friendships from other bands:
Acknowledge That you Need These People. Before anything, you have to realize that you need these people in your life. They will give you tips, give you advice, introduce you to more people, lend you their instrument or a few dollars, drive you home when you have no car, promote your album, promote your page, cheer you up when you’re down,etc. No one understands musicians better than fellow musicians.
Change Your Mindset. The main reasons some musicians are reluctant to make friends with other musicians are: 1. They care too much of what people would think about them, and 2. They think people don’t like them. It’s about self-esteem, really. Always think that you’re interesting and people like you even if you’re still a small fry. They’re just waiting for you to approach first because well, that’s how it usually goes. You’re the new one and it’s a rule of thumb that the new ones approach the more established ones- not the other way around. Remember, they were newbies at one point and they are sympathetic to the new ones. Of course this may not always be the case but it’s healthier to cultivate this kind of thinking.
Make it Your Style. Some artists, especially the ones making dark music, want to be packaged as indifferent, deviant, anti-social. Getting friendly is just “not their style”. But gosh, you have to develop social skills if you want people to at least recognize you. Don’t play the stereotype. It’s much better if you try to reach out and make connections. If you want, you can go back to being snotty…when you’re already famous. If you want. The antisocial style is boring and will not take you anywhere.
They’re not Your Pimps. Do not talk about your album right away unless they ask about it. Just look at them as new friends and not as pimps. Trust me, they can detect if you’re only trying to use them.
Make them Feel Special. If you want to turn-off your new acquaintances, talk about yourself, your band rehearsals, how you made your first album, your crazy fans, your future plans, what you think about the music industry…blah,blah, blah. Hey! NEVER TALK TOO MUCH ABOUT YOURSELF. Instead, be genuinely interested in others and let them do most of the talking during the first meeting. Ask them questions. They like to feel like their opinion matters. Give that to them and you’ll earn a friend. This, my friend, is what we call CHARM.
Don’t Overdo anything. Don’t appear like you’re a fanboy who wants to know every detail about them- even the brand of deodorant they use. If they post on twitter or Facebook 5 times a day, don’t comment to all of them and retweet each one of them. Don’t ask too many questions if their answers are getting shorter and shorter. Don’t make a major plan of your bands teaming up if you’ve just met once or twice. Don’t be annoying. In other words…
Keep Your Dignity Intact. Be friendly but never show that you’re willing to kiss their asses. Greet them everytime you meet but do not beg them for anything. Do not kiss the ground they’re walking on unless you really love them for their talent (i.e. Beatles, et al) and not only because you want to be in their circle or you want them to promote you during their next gig.
Get their E-mails. I told you that you should not appear like you’re too needy, you should make them feel special, but this is a must. Neither of you should go home without getting each others’ e-mails. Even if you’ve made a great impression, it would be useless if there’s no way you can contact each other.
photo credit: http://kron.buzznet.com
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