This summer when I went to Lyons for Song School I had an impromptu mentoring session with one of my songwriting heroes. We've talked songwriting before. We've talked songs. We've never talked business stuff and I found myself asking him about business stuff.
We agreed that playing songs is cool, letting songs live in the moment and then disappear is cool, but if the artist in the moment wants to get to the next hippie dippy moment, then she has to put on a hat named, "Business" and book the gig. She has to be an advocate for the songwriter so her work can be heard.
So true. So hard. So I'm practicing.
Practicing means sending emails, sometimes more than once to a media outlet asking that they cover the show or publish a press release. It means booking studio time, it means band practice, it means actively seeking out dates in bigger venues, asking for more money than last time or asking for help in getting the word out on an upcoming show. It means keeping the website up to date (in progress) and getting new pictures of yourself taken (this is my least favorite thing in the whole world, but it's part of the job).
Did you know you have to have been reviewed in the last two years in order to apply for an official showcase at Folk Alliance? I have only been reviewed once by an online publication about 5 years ago so I can't apply. This job is kinda learn as you and, for now, I can't for the life of me figure out how to get reviewed and I'm too chicken to ask.
So I'm practicing. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel braver than others. Terri and Ellis gave great advice a few years ago that a goal with many steps is a project and a project can only be completed in stages. That's what I'm doing. I'm breaking down the project into tiny pieces and hoping I make progress.
Yesterday I played a show at the Gresham Community Center. It was great. I had so much fun, I think the audience did too and I walked away thinking that I'm good at this job. Even if nobody notices beyond my circle right now, I do this well. That took practice.
Now I'm practicing this other thing that doesn't come as naturally, but it's doable. We've all got those parts of us that are in the process of being learned or developed. Be patient, stay positive, just do a little at a time. Hell, set the timer if you have to. I'm right there with you.