Every marathon starts with a step. A corny cliche? Probably. But within every cliche is a kernel of truth. And before you become a nationally known recording artist, you have to build the right career foundation.
The first step is to build your local fan base. So perform wherever and whenever you can. Play showcases at music clubs. Seek out open mike nights. Plan your own showcase. Offer to play a free gig and a local club and send out invitations to all your friends. Wherever you perform, get as many people to attend as possible. So post the event on Facebook. Send out a Tweet.
Look for jobs that promote your music and that put you in contact with music industry professionals, such as a studio backup singer. Get an agent and have them send you out on auditions to be a commercial jingle singer. Not only are these jobs good ways to mingle, they pay well, too.
Hone your songwriting skills. While talented singers and musicians are always a sought after commodity, those who write their own material are especially prized. Being a singer songwriter doubles your chances on getting signed by a label. Many successful recording artists began by writing songs for other well-known singers.
Promote yourself virally. Create a fun, user-friendly web site then rent a professional digital recorder and make a high-quality video to upload onto your site. Again, use Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to promote your video.
Once you have built up a following, both local and online, it’s time to get a record deal. Start by preparing a promotional package. Get a professional headshot taken, make copies of any reviews you might have and write a brief but engaging cover letter introducing yourself.
The most important part of your package is a demo. If you write your own songs, record those. If you cover songs, select songs that best showcase your voice as opposed to picking a song because it’s popular. And never try to sound like anyone else; trust in your own style.
When meeting with a label, be mindful of your appearance. First impressions are important. And most importantly, be positive and professional. Show them you are artistically and personally ready to be a national recording star!