Ask any star what his or her ‘big break’ was and most of the time you won’t get a straight answer. It’s not because she is trying to dodge the question or because he is embarrassed about it. It’s because there was no “big break.”
Every successful musician’s career is made up of many little breaks.
The overnight success story was really 10 years in the making. Gigging non stop. Touring empty clubs. Hustling music supervisors. “Showcasing” in front of “big wigs” and “performing” in front of “nobodies.”
But once and awhile one of the music supervisors opens the email, listens to the song and has a spot for it in this week’s episode. Or the headliner of the show you were asked to be the local opener for pokes their head out of the green room just long enough to be wowed and asks you to join the tour.
One tour or one song placement won’t make a career, though.
But how do you get that local opening spot to have that chance? How do you get the music supervisor to open your email? How do you do you get a gig at your local club? How do you meet the videographers to create your viral video? How do you find the producer to create your hit record?
You have to be on people’s radars.
I just ran into someone at a show who I hadn’t seen in months. We got to talking and a few days later she called me and offered me a gig.
She absolutely would have not thought to offer me the gig in a town of thousands of fantastic musicians had we not run into each other a couple nights prior.
It was because I was on her radar.
The majority of the opportunities I’ve gotten have not been because someone thought I was the best for the job. It was because we had just had lunch or she had just read my tweet or we just ran into each other at a show.
Why so many people move out to LA is because the movers and shakers are out here and if you brush shoulders with them enough they could help you.
But there’s no one way to go about it. There’s no magic email you can send. There’s no formula.
You have to get out into the world and meet people. Be kind. Be likable. Be the person that others WANT to help.
The next time the club owner needs to fill a date, maybe she’ll give you a call.
The next time your friend’s band gets a tour, maybe he’ll think of you to join.
The next time your old roommate from college needs a song for her ad campaign, maybe she’ll shoot you an email.
And invariable, it will be one of your many little breaks.
Photo by Pichado Photography from Flickr used with the Creative Commons License
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of Ari’s Take. Listen to his new album, Brave Enough, on Spotify. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake