Those of who you know me ,know I been around the Miami/Fort Lauderdale music scene for quite some time now. Actually a lot longer than I would like to admit. Through out the years I have rocked over 1,000 shows easily. I have thrown and promoted over 500 easily. I am writing this strictly off of my experience as a performer and a promoter. I have a come up with a few do’s and dont’s that will help you get booked at local shows and break into your local scene leading to more brand awareness and hopefully a potential fan base.
Plain and simple. If you dont show up to local events and support the scene dont expect The local scene to support you. What ever genre of music you are into from EDM to HIP HOP theres always lots of local weekly and monthly events in every major city or neighboring city. This might mean you have to actually step away from your computer, get dressed and go out.. Crazy isnt it. You will never get anywhere if you just sit behind a computer promoting to the same 600 twitter and facebook followers you have.
What to do when you show up to a venue to support?
Its simple, just be a fan of music. How does being a fan help? First of all you learn from observing. If you find yourself standing there unable to have fun because all you can think of is how much better you are than the next dude and deserve to be on that stage more you are in for a surprise. Always remember that no one becomes a boss with out being an employee first, therefore no one can be a great artist with out being a fan first. Now that your out there supporting and having a good time you can start to network. Walk up to the promoter and say hey man(or woman) thanks for putting on a great show or providing an outlet for people to show their art. Its as simple as that. Now what you have just done is commend someone for their hard work an effort. That promoter is inclined to remember you next time around. Please take heed, you cant expect to go to one show and kiss some ass to get a gig. You have to actually be a part of the scene. Show up to the next show and ask for flyers or online links to promote and help out with the next events. Do that for a few events and you will already become a part of the scene by default. Next Step is handing the promoter a demo.
How to hand a promoter a demo?
You usually have one chance to make a lasting impression so take advantage of it. Provided that you have been a supporter of the scene and the promoter knows your face, now would be a good time to let him know who you are. Avoid sounding to cocky and arrogant like i”m sooo dope” and” im the best rapper alive”.Promoters hear that all the time so if you think you are the “dopest rapper alive” then stand in line, theres 1 million of you saying that. Thats a quick way for someone to not give a fuck about what you are saying. You can start off by saying “Hey promoter I have been supporting your shows for a while and i would like you to listen to my demo or mixtape so I can hopefully play your next show”. Now if you have been building with this promoter trying to help him/her , there is no reason that this person should not help you out. Oh yeah please dont forget, There are hundreds of thousands of people trying to do what you do so present your best material. All killer no filler. Make sure your cd Looks nice and sounds good(ie. Mixed and Mastered). If you hand a promoter a cdr with your name written in marker you might as well put the cd on the bar and put your beer on top of it because you just handed that promoter a COASTER. Remember, Dope artwork and a mixed and Mastered Product!
You’ve Landed that booking, NOW WHAT?
Please dont expect to just show up to the show with your homie thinking you’ve made it. Its a long road to success and just showing up and being dope isnt gonna hack it. The days of A&R’s sitting in crowds looking for new talent is gone and you need a movement. With that being said bring your friends. If you bring 10-20 people out to see you then you will not only impress the promoter but more than likely the rest of the people who you didn’t bring will vibe off of the energy of your friends. Remember getting your friends and family involved is the first step. If you have no friends or family then you need to go and make some. If you cant make new friends then you are probably anti-social and shouldn’t be out in a public venue with other people.
With being said you have been a supporter of the scene and Now the scene will be supporting you.
Having a false sense of entitlement …
I cant stress how many hundreds of people have come up to me like “Yo, put me on your show bro, Im dope as fuck” , “I can outrap any of these lames you put on” or “Let me get the mic”……I guess these people think that they are the center of the musical universe and the simple fact that they have some talent is reason enough for me to just let them rock a show….NO.. I have come across hundreds of talented people. Some with talent beyond belief,so talented that they make me want to go back in the lab and perfect my craft even more. Those same people have a shitty attitude because they know how dope they are and feel that they shouldnt have to work for it. Heres a news flash, spending hrs in the studio 10% of the work you need to put in. The rest is hustle. Promoters and club people bust their ass for Every 5 hr show you attend. That means theres usually 4-8 weeks of promo and other work for those 5 hrs. Dont think that your skil trumps their hard work. Be humble and work hard. Confidence is ok and good to have, but the rest of the bullshit isnt. Remember that the scene and the fans dont owe you anything, you have to pay your dues and work hard to get where you need to be. I rather book an artist that has a lot of room to grow but will work hard and bring his fans to see him then the next big hype.
Pay to play?
Now this has nothing to do with breaking into the scene but it is important. There are a few different ways to get onto a show with out being a supporter but i guantee you will go broke doing it. The moment you pay to perform and pay to be on mixtapes and compilations is the moment you will have to pay for everything you do. That is a money trap. There are some companies out there who will straight up ask for a fee to perform, thats the shit i dont like…word to Chief Keef. Those companies will usually give a shitty time slot with shitty sound in a shitty venue. Stay way from those. There are other companies that actually will give you tickets to sell and give you a dollar a ticket or a dollar a head. Those aren’t so bad and at least you have a way to track your friends and get some gas money to cover your trip, but if you end up selling over 100 tickets then you might want to reconsider that deal.. You might want to rent a club and throw a party yourself because you have a fan base.
Remember this is just one persons view based on personal experience and trials that have worked. Following this wont guarantee anything but it will help.
-Lex Uno Judo Sumo