Do you wonder how you're ever going to connect with the right people to help you find success in your music career? Does it seem like "industry people" are in a whole different world from you, and there's no way to find them?
There is more opportunity around you than you can even fathom. It is everywhere, it is surrounding you. You just need to
- make yourself ready for opportunities and
- keep your eyes open for the opportunities to come.
You know the whole Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon game? No matter who you are, you're not that many steps removed from most of the other people on the planet. True in real life, but especially true with social media. I tend to friend anyone that I have a bunch of friends in common with, and now my so-called "network" expands into many countries. Of course, a Facebook friend is not the same thing as a real friend, but it still represents a possible opportunity, given the right circumstances.
And even if you think in "real world" terms, if you think of all the people you know, and then all the people they know, that's thousands of people you are pretty close to.
But in order for opportunity to find you, you have to be the right person. You have to be someone people are willing to stake a little bit of their reputation on. When someone recommends you to someone you don't know, they are taking a risk. You have to show that you are worth that risk. Are you reliable? Are you building your own career, rather than waiting for lightning to strike in the form of American Idol? Are you a good person to work with? Do you keep growing and learning? What's in it for them if they recommend you? People want to recommend others who will reflect well back on themselves.
So, treat every encounter as a possible opportunity. Even if you meet someone who isn't a musician or in the music industry, they may be just one step away from someone who is.
Here's a kind of funny story...
Recently, I found myself alone in a diner at 2am on a Wednesday night. I'm not even going to tell you why. But I ended up talking to two guys who were in town for a conference. They came from Minneapolis, but one of them was actually Irish. When the Irish guy found out I was a musician, one of them said his brother-in-law was a well-connected music lawyer in London and he'd like to send some of my music to him. So we exchanged cards, and now we've connected by email. He listened to the music on my website and is awaiting my first release from my new band, to send to his brother-in-law in London.
Of course, by far the most likely thing to happen out of this connection is: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. But who knows? Less likely things have happened in my life. And people always start out as acquaintances. Nothing may happen now, or next year, but maybe three years down the line something may happen. Opportunities can come from the most tenuous connections.
I met a great singer once who complained that too many people were always danging opportunities to "get signed" in front of her, but nothing ever materialized. I thought about that conversation many times afterward. I have two main thoughts about it. First, she seemed frustrated that nothing ever came through, and I can understand that frustration. But you have to remember that the chance of any given opportunity being "the big one" is very low. Just keep the faith and treat each one as a new opportunity unsullied by the fact that previous opportunities haven't worked out. But second, I have to wonder: with so many opportunities and connections coming her way, was she doing something to deflect them? Why would people indicate interest in working with her and then change their minds?
Of course, a lot of people like to talk a big game but then don't follow it up with action. More than those who mean what they say. So it may not have been her fault at all. But who knows. Just something to think about...
This was a bit of a ramble today. But it's what's on my mind. I remember when I felt like I didn't know anyone in music. Of course, I was in IT at the time, doing software development. But if I had looked around I would have found that many of my colleagues were musicians on the side... there were more connections around me than I ever realized.
Opportunities are all around you. Do you feel them?
(c) 2011 Adrienne Osborn