Few questions asked in the music business strike as much fear as this. I have been guilty of giving stock answers of “Um yeah….just trudging along…” or “Finally have a bit of a break after just being slammed…glad to have some downtime!!!!”. If we are truly honest with ourselves I think we spend most of our time thinking “Oh man, I really need a gig or some work….” or “Oh man, the calendar looks thin…how much longer is this gig gonna last?” This year I have vowed to be honest with my friends and myself when this question is asked….so consider yourself warned. We are all trying to make it in this constantly changing, crazy business. The least we can do is be honest with and encourage each other. And continue to drink coffee together…..
Quite often I am asked “how do you make it in Nashville?”, or “what is the secret to getting good gigs?”. This always catches me off guard a bit, as I have only been here for 4 years and have only scratched the surface of how this constantly evolving industry works. “Be on time and be a nice person” is usually my response. This is of course assuming you can play (there are so many great players in this town), and if you can’t you will find that out sooner than later. When that call does come, walk in and absolutely kill it. Leave no doubt in their minds that you are the only one for the gig. I have never walked into a gig thinking “Gosh, I wish I would have prepared less for this!”, no such thing (in my opinion) as over-preparing. Someone is paying (hopefully!) you to play your instrument and help them achieve a musical/artistic goal. Showcase, session, tour…whatever the case may be, be humble and honored that you have been given the opportunity. There are a lot of choices in this town and it’s a blessing every time you get a chance. And when you do, nail it.
(Side note, if anyone does have an answer on how to make it in this town, or how to get good gigs please let me know. And go ahead and write a book and sell a million copies.)