Wearing All the Hats
By Megan Burtt
The things that have seemed to be the most beneficial for me are the things that musicians tend to hate the most, or give little attention to – organization; patience and a healthy lifestyle are high on that list.
I’m compulsive about inputting a business card into my contacts application on my computer soon after it was handed to me. I include a reminder for myself of where I met that person and something we talked about that I can bring up in conversation later. Independent artist have to be there own cheerleaders for a long time before industry starts to recognize them. So, if I’m going to be my own manger, booking agent, PR chick, the list goes on and on, than I need to know what resources I have to get all those things done. I make ‘to do’ lists, and excel spreadsheets of gig venues all over the country, take note of radio stations I can send a press pack to. It’s a full time job if you’re serious about it. I in the same light, being on-time is really important to me. Shows and sound checks rarely start when they are suppose to, but could you imagine if they did? Your 10:30 PM slot might not get pushed to 11 PM, just when people are ready to go home.
Some of the opportunities that have come around have been years in the making. I play a venue so many times, that I finally get a headlining spot, or open for a national act. It’s important for me to make a mental hierarchy of my goals, and understand that there might be a few steps to take before I get to the top. I enjoy feeling that “I’m doing my time” so to speak. I appreciate how much it sucks to play to two people in a dive bar, and fly halfway across the country for a meeting that gets canceled when you get there. It keeps things in perspective, and makes the successes even sweeter.
I don’t want to get so drunk that I can’t sing well, or wake up the next day not wanting to do anything. I feel better when I sleep every night, and drink tea, and eat well, and take vitamins. There are a lot of ways to eat healthy on a budget!
At the end of day, I stand by my belief that the greatest assets are your friends. The real, true, late-night, early-morning, know each other’s middle name kinda friends. They are the ones that hand off gigs to you; they are the ones that refer their managers, and talent buyers to you. They’ll save your ass in a pinch. They are the ones that will tell you honestly if you wrote a shitty song.
So, take names. Then befriend them. Then take them out for a wheat grass shot. Then make time to create amazing music.
Then email me so I can hear it.