MOST IMPORTANT FACT; Like any music market-have a hit song with a strong hook,melody and chorus. If u want to make a living and have longevity forget “keeping it real”-Its not selling out. Its selling out arenas!!
A) Think outside of the box.
Chances are whatever you as an artist are doing ,has been done before-the real winners are those with dedication and application when it comes to doing something a little differently. What’s your USP? A unique voice? Lyrical dexterity?live? The hustle?
B) Talent brings talent
if you are a talented artist find others that are better than you creatively and make sure they are part of your “team” .That is video makers/writers/producers/graphic artists. Also don’t be afraid to spread the news that these people are PART of your success. An artist is as strong as the weakest person in his team.
Many of the UK’s leading artists have been dropped or it hasn’t gone right 1st go.This is now a proud badge-persevere.
D) Be fit
If you are going to be doing this – on the road – etc- eat right and treat your body well-if you get into bad habits early on its hard to shake later on.Even though its hard -make this a priority-it will server u well in the long run. Touring,making videos,all night promo,live shows are taxing on the body and the mind leaving you useless if not staying on the healthy path.
E) Accept that if you are good and different -you will be hated.But don’t be an idiot and fan the flame of hatred.
If there’s hate you’re doing something right.
F) Get to know DJ’s personally.
If it means handwriting your promo CD’s to them do so. Build strong,supportive relationships in the industry.
G) Spot career DJ’s early-very important.
Hit young bloggers with cult followings in the UK like SBTV and Pinboardblog etc.
Familiarize yourself with the UK’s big brand taste-makers like radio1xtra,Choicefm ,Kissfm ,Galaxy,MTV Base ,RWD magazine ,Flava magazine. etc.
H) Be respectful of people-word travels quickly when you do wrong- actually 10 times quicker than when you do right
I) Do not bitch about other artists in petty conversation.
You will be heard- and twitter is a bitch. Stay far from “beef” or negativity -its not cool, its an urban music stereotype. Its a sure fire way of your music staying niche – mainstream support will disappear.- do your promo!
J) Get a f@*&%$£ good lawyer- you’ll need them early on and throughout your career.
K) Don’t come and see a manager thinking he can fix your sh@*-if you’ve got it – he will come to you.You can however be persistent- that is good in an artist
L) When you tour-hand in your PRS forms and get a good accountant.
M) LISTEN!-Too many artist are great Transmitters and NOT good receivers so be sure to LISTEN!-
N) The UK responds well to artists they see and hear about regularly- be authentic to where you’re from. I.e don’t emulate US artists (accent/style). You’ll never out-American the Americans – do you and the local audience responds well to that because they recognize it.
O) Don’t label yourself R&B/rap – its quite limiting in small markets like Holland and the UK. Its something Dizzee Rascal recognized years ago. It opened him up to festivals and other opportunities to reach as broad an audience as possible.
P) Always treat the press and reporters with respect and help them help you by being helpful , fun and interesting in interviews. If you’re going to be miserable and unhelpful don’t do press. We will dread meeting you and not bother actively promoting you.
Q) Remember the small broadcasters and street teams that helped you on the way up. Don’t shun their interview requests once you’re big. Trust me you’ll be reaching out to them again on your way down.
R) Enjoy the ride! There’s nothing worse than seeing a negative act. Don’t get into showbiz if you don’t like the industry. People will criticize and blow hot and cold on you but if you can last the course and have genuine talent you will make it!
S) If you’re lucky enough to win an award or have a public platform to speak onstage to masses of people, have something engaging/ interesting to say. So many artists show their no-personality having side here which lets them down.
T) Don’t act like a diva with club promoters, doormen, managers and anyone else working with you unless you are Mariah, Whitney, Prince or any of their peers. They’re genuine bonifide superstars-you probably aren’t. A bad rep will not help you in the industry.
U) Respect how important the humble DJ is to your career. DJ’s are the beginning and end for you’re radio, street and airplay. Know how essential they are to the game and YOUR game.
V) If you have no natural style-get a great stylist. Think about your image and don’t be afraid to reinvent it if need be. There are too many industry insiders laughing at acts that are stuck in a time warp and heading to being back at the benefit office as they can’t move ahead. stay current with your image or stay unique.
W) At industry events and awards be aware of the tempting gifting suite. Yes you are allowed to be an over excited grabalious bunny the first few times, after that the insiders are sniggering at your cheapness and if you’re an ex-celeb they’re also laughing at the fact that you were once famous but now you’re milking it.
X) Don’t approach press and demand they promote you when you have no material. If you have a hit the press will run after you. Everyone is not a star. Know your limits. A hit song will get you 15 minutes of fame. Repetition of more hit songs will keep you relevant. Sales of numerous albums and sell out shows will catapult you to star status.
Y) Big name managers will try and scoop you up once you arrive at a high level. Only jump ship and betray your early managers if you still have great lawyers who will ensure you’re not signing your life away. Many an act has fallen here.
Z) Keep your mind alert to learning new things about your own industry and career. Once you stop enjoying get in another lane. Life’s too short not to wake up everyday doing something you love!
FINAL THOUGHT- Don’t get caught up romanticizing the life of a rock star to pump up your dreams. If you even recognized 1% of the pace of what would metaphorically be basic training in boot camp- the weaklings and posers will fall first and only the ones with true character and humility will even have the opportunity to try and fail at doing this insane business-its tough!.
GOOD LUCK , FATE, NETWORKING, MELODY MAKING, LYRIC WRITING AND TIMING!