Ok, I’m a lyricist, and I don’t play out. So, no, I’ve never really played a writer’s night. But I’ve been to a ton of them, and I’ve picked up some things I want to share. Writer’s nights can be an effective tool, but you want to make sure you make the most out of them. Here are 10 tips to do that.
1. Determine WHY you’re playing the round.
Then choose your songs accordingly. If you’re there to network as an aspiring hit country songwriter, it doesn’t serve you well to play that lullaby you wrote for your dog. Play songs that aim in the direction you want to go.
2. Practice your songs.
You might’ve written a great song, but we might never know it if you can’t remember the melody and lyrics. Having to start over is a big groove-buster.
3. Bring a crowd.
You’re more likely to be invited to join in somebody else’s round if you prove you can bring a crowd. More rounds can equal more opportunities.
4. Play uptempo!
Most new writers play ballad after ballad. The easiest way to stand out is to play something uptempo (and fun).
5. Bring business cards and CDs.
Throw some CDs of your songs in your guitar case- be sure and have your contact info on each one. Keep business cards handy. Make it easy for someone who likes your music to remember you and find you later.
6. Get there early.
It shows professionalism. It also makes you more likely to be booked for your own round or be invited to join someone else’s round if you’re reliable. Nobody likes to sweat, wondering if their buddy is going to flake out on them.
7. Stay for at least one round after yours.
It gives you the chance to discover potential cowriters in the next round. It also gives folks who like your music the chance to approach you.
8. Get a pro writer in your round.
If you can get a professional songwriter in your round, you look more legit by association. It also may bring out better potential contacts. Maybe they come to see the pro, but they also discover you.
9. Don’t ignore your peer group.
Odds are, there won’t be a hit writer or publisher or A&R rep in your audience. But the unknown writer in the round with you or in the round before/after you may just be a future hit songwriter. Identify and build a relationship with them now, while they’re still accessible.
10. Sometimes, you DON’T play the round.
This deserves its own post, so check back next week- or better yet, subscribe to Man vs. Row so it’s delivered right to your inbox.
What did I miss? Anything you’d like to add or ask? Anything you’d like for me to cover in a future MvR? Leave a comment!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com