Wendy Alane Wright is a Hollywood Talent Manager with WAW Entertainment. Her clients have appeared in numerous national commercials, movies, webisodes, short films, and on television networks such as ABC, NBC, Comedy Central, BIO, Lifetime, plus many more. Previous to being a Manager and a Talent Agent at Burn Down Entertainment, she assisted many high profile Managers, Agents and Publicists in the careers of Neil Patrick Harris, Johnny Galecki, Sarah Michelle Geller, The Four Tops, The Bee Gees, Meatloaf, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Guttenberg, The Cranberries Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and Neil Diamond. Wendy is also a Recording Artist, Actress, Author and Music Producer all giving her a 360-degree perspective of the industry.
When you first start performing live as a solo act or a band your goal is to try and build a following. You want to create a fan base and keep in touch with them through email, Twitter and Facebook. You are also performing live to get experience mastering the stage, mastering your own performances, and mastering making a connection with your audiences - so you keep becoming a better, and more interesting performer.
An artist grows by performing live, so you want to perform live everywhere you can. The bottom line is...it all come down to what happens when a solo singer or band performs live. Do people get riled up and excited, or bored? Loving an artist is something organic that either happens or doesn't. You can not force it. People either show up or they don't. People either come back to listen to you again, or they don't. Of course you have to invite them back and offer them a great show, have merchandise available if you have it and giveaways like free t-shirts are always nice; but it won't make them like you or your band. Music is subjective. And when someone is feeling the music their body reacts, or it doesn't.
Here's an example, after the great comedian Chris Rock finished his stint on Saturday Night Live, he wasn't getting much work, no one would hire him. He decided to go back to Chicago to a theater and start doing standup again. He worked on routines and jokes and his performance, but no one was really coming. He continued to try new material and work on his act. Finally he started getting lines on the street for people to come see him. And over time he was sold out. He worked out his act until whatever he was doing was working.
It is the same for singers. It takes time to figure out what you do that makes people stand in line to come see you. Singers may have several bands before that happens, or it may happen with the 1st one. The reaction people have is organic and cannot be forced. They either like it or they don't. By performing live as much as possible, as artist can find their wings on stage. They learn about themselves and what they do in their own expression of their music. They learn how to connect with an audience. They learn how to speak with an audience. They learn which material speaks to an audience and which material does not. In a band they need to find the chemistry between them, which comes from time and shared experiences. They should hang out in between gigs to get to know each other so that camaraderie appears on stage. They all need to have fun on stage so it will show.
# 1 BOOKINGS
Artists need a booking agent locally, who can submit video of the band or solo artist to local venues to see if they will have them - colleges, fairs, festivals, clubs, charity events etc. So the artists can get out there and see if they can cause a stir. At every gig they should hand out a bumper sticker or postcard with the bands pic on it and contact info. Someone should be on hand at every gig to collect email addresses to enter fans into a drawing to win a Band T-Shirt. Then they take those email addresses, enter them into a contact list and stay in touch with their fans, letting them know where they will be performing next. Constant Contact or Mail Chimp is great for this.
# 2 PRESS
Artists should also send a press release to local papers letting them know about their gigs. The booking agent can be a friend - or a professional. But has to be someone who can consistently make phone calls to venues/events and send emails with links to the bands video to ask for bookings.
# 3 FAN BASE
This business is all about contacts and exposure. So singing every where you can is key. And making the most of each gig is very important. So at every gig you should be dressed the part, have business cards you can hand out so people who like your sound can see where they can buy your music, or they can follow you on Twitter or like your Fan Facebook page. Use your mailing list to keep everyone informed about where you are singing next
# 4 4 SONG CD
If you have been at this for awhile you probably already have a 4 song demo recorded. If you are just starting out you need one.
# 5 WEBSITE
Of course you need a website with your music, cool photos of you in your regular life and on stage? A place where people can go to find ou all about you, your music, buy your music and see your upcoming gig dates. Fan want access.
THIS IS A BUSINESS
Treat your career like a business. You are selling a product - YOU. You need to make sure the product always looks good, define your image, and your work either a 4 Song Demo or full length CD is easily accessible to buy on line and at shows.
Use these handy tips to get started and keep me updated on your progress!
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Wendy Alane Wright Smith