So, you've stomped your foot till your shin splints swelled, ran your scales till your fingers were raw and bleeding, sang your songs till your voice was hoarse and gone and you still have the energy to propel your career?!?
Damn, kid, you're gonna make the big time. But the question is: What to do now that you've obviously been focusing true blue on the music. You gotta keep it going, boss. You're gonna make the big time, kid. Welcome to the world of social networking. Are you ready to embrace the future?
In 1992, I moved from Philly to Boston to give a life of music a go. I was playing a lot. Working as a street musician had me playing in a performance setting for two-to-eight hours a day. On top of that, I was practicing and writing diligently on the porch or in my room for another two to four hours a day. Bottom line is that I was trying to make it. All I had was my music, and I was spending all my time perfecting and developing my craft.
There is power in repetition.
Things were happening for me, but as disciplined and dedicated as I was to my practice and writing, there were often those times when I was done. Enough was enough and -- creatively, physically, spiritually and mentally -- I needed a break.
During these moments away from my guitars and notebooks, I would focus on activities to propel my name, reputation and music. Looking back, what I was really doing was an early form of social networking.
I would spend many hours in Kinkos on Dartmouth Street in Boston making stickers and flyers. I would sticker the shit out of the T, the clubs, the venues, street signs and parking meters. All the stickers said "Special Sauce." I was just trying to get my name out there. Be somebody. Get as many "followers” as possible. "Graffiti" was the original Twitter.
Flyers were going up on every bulletin board, in cool stores, college dorms, hotel lobbies, coffee shops and music stores. Flyering: the original Facebook.
I was also using my spare time to hustle gigs, make and package cassette demos and bother the shit out of local booking agents begging for gigs until they definitely knew my name.
Back then I was hustling. Now in 2011 we call it networking. It's easier than ever to hustle ... so what are you waiting for?
Nowadays it's easier than ever to make yourself available to success. With Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Linkedin, iLike and the many other social networking sites that hundreds of millions of people around the world use, you have the opportunity to spread your name, attract people to your shows, create a scene, involve people in your music, post music and video content and make a goddamn name for yourself.
There are no rules. While I'm writing this, people are making shit-tons of money posting videos on YouTube.
Someone just got a record deal. Someone just had a sold out show. Someone just took your spot and they can't even hardly play but they have a draw and a scene.
You can play the shit out of that guitar, now spend a bit of time mastering the art of getting your music into the public. We all have egos and we all have aspirations. No one wants to play the Ramada lobby the rest of your life, right? Get online and get yourself out there. It is 2011. There are no excuses, there are only opportunities.
If computers seem daunting to you, I call bullshit. Learn. If you say you don't have the time because it will cut into your practice, I call bullshit again! You can Facebook while you're taking a crap. If you think computers will infect the purity of your jazz or Delta blues, I call extra bullshit. If your music is deep, then nothing is going to infect or upset the vibration you are making in your basement.
I'm so sick of seeing amazing players and performers -- just truly gifted musicians -- sitting on the sidelines playing shitty local gigs and not going anywhere in their career because they are too stubborn to network, hustle and get themselves out there.
I always say, the people who make it big in this business are not just great musicians, they are great musicians that have the vision, discipline and energy to get them propelled to playing in front of thousands of people. Great musicians deserve to be heard. Great musicians deserve to get paid. Are you a great musician? Then do the work away from your instrument to make your career ... sing.
I'm writing this because I love you and you need an ass kicking. Now go pickup a computer and practice.
G. Love, aka Garrett Dutton, has been the front man and founder of the alternative hip-hop blues group G. Love & Special Sauce since their inception in 1993. Widely known for his upbeat hits "Cold Beverage," "Baby's Got Sauce" and "Hot Cookin'," G. Love returned to his blues and country roots on his latest release, Fixin' To Die (Amazon, iTunes), produced by Scott and Seth Avett. A road dog if one ever existed, G. Love performs roughly 125 shows a year all over the world including Australia, Japan, Brazil, UK, Canada and the U.S. G. Love teamed up with Gretsch to create his own signature model, the Gretsch G. Love Signature Electromatic Corvette, which features a pair of TV Jones® Power'Tron™ pickups, deluxe mini-precision tuners and a cool Phili-green color scheme with competition stripe that would make ANYONE from Philadelphia proud! Check it out here.