Being in a band is a lot of fun. You get to make music with your friends and you have the chance to influence people you don’t even know. That is of course if you “make it” in the industry. It’s not always easy to be successful as a band. it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.
Somebody once said about Grassy Spark that they were “an overnight success that were eight years in the running”. This means that they were together as a unit for eight years before they had their breakthrough – a breakthrough that people saw as an overnight success. This is the case for many of the bands we know and love.
Part of the process is constantly re-evaluating what you are doing. Did you know Grassy Spark used to be a metal band? I’m sure you didn’t. They evolved with the trends and researched their market. This is the only way to find out what people want to hear. This is very important. You need to find an unique sound, but you also have to adjust to the trends in order to be successful.
Know your crowd. Research trends around the world to stay on top of your game. Speak to your audiences. If you mix with the crowd, Whether you like it or not, sometimes you are going to have to adjust your sound to give the people what they want to hear in order to put food on the table. Just make sure that you don’t lose your unique sound during this process. Get to know your fans and research music trends around the world to stay on the ball, but also stay true to yourself.
When you start up, you need to earn money from somewhere to be able to expand and build your brand – take any and every chance to perform – weddings, corporate gigs, your grandmother’s birthday… You don’t even need to use the same name or original songs – it is fine if you are doing Beatles and ABBA covers, as long as you are not stagnant.
Always keep up the admin! If you do not have all the writing ready, bookings simply isn’t going to happen. Never underestimate the power of being organised and never ever underestimate the power of social media. This is how you get to your fans and how your fans get to you. Social media advertisement is of utter importance when you want to get the word out about something.
Lastly, remember to practice enough to slay onstage, but don’t post about band practice. Post about grabbing a beer together or about that time you had a braai at John’s mom’s house. Writers don’t post that they are busy writing and accountants don’t post that they are busy accounting. It is what is expected of them, i.e. their jobs. The same goes for musicians – you are expected to practice
The most important thing to remember is that the time you want to give up the most is when you need to push through. Don’t give up. The industry is tough. Work your ass off, sleep too little, cry, laugh and then work some more. Nothing in this world is free.