#11 – So you want to be a pop star?

Hi there and welcome to The Record Factory Blog,

Recently I received an email from an artist in Perth, WA who like a lot of us always seems to be one step short of making it big. She’s experienced writing sessions with big stars and been promised a lot of opportunities which never quite eventuate.

I completely understand that this happens. If we all made a dollar for each of the ‘if onlys’ we wouldn’t ever need work again!

Of course, every now and again one of these big opportunities will be the big break. It’s a matter of having everything in place and being ready, so can you can take advantage of the opportunity.

Almost every overnight success, was in fact not actually an overnight success – it’s something that people have been working hard at for years.

Overnight successes for the most part only happen in the movies. If they do happen in the real world, they won’t last long as there’s unlikely to be any substance.  So, please don’t just sit there expecting a starmaker to knock on your front door and do all the work for you. Get out there and take control of you career yourself.

So what do you do..? Well there’s a lot of things and I picked 3 of my favourites.

The Starmaker

I really think the age of the ‘starmaker’ is long gone – last year over 85% of music was independently released. Big record companies aren’t really putting money into unknown/developing artists, they’re struggling to survive themselves. So you have to do gigs, write material and put it out yourself.

It won’t be until you have tangible independent success that a record company will look at you. Josh Pyke is a great example of how it works.

Be Independent

I think the only way to go is to ensure that you have demos/recorded songs available online so people can hear you. Make sure you have a music profile online. Some great examples of this fiercely independent approach are www.amandaeaston.com, www.yolandathomas.com and www.heatherfrahn.com. Unless you’re doing a reasonably sized show a week and selling 500 CDs a week, a manager is unnecessary. Of course all managers work on percentage, so even if you do engage management, unless you are doing the shows and selling the CDs it’s unlikely you’ll get a good manager as the good ones won’t work for free.

Be Ready for ‘The Opportunity’

While it’s always great to get songs placed in TV shows and opportunities like writing with a big star could break an artist, I think you have to have everything ready (i.e. gigging, releasing songs regularly) in order that you can really get the best out of these sorts of opportunities. The Idols who lasted beyond the TV show have had heaps of experience and have worked hard on making their music career work. Then of course after getting the Idol opportunity they really work it and don’t rely on the industry to hand it to them. Even after having a number one single and lots of Idol exposure, Casey Donovan is out there doing regular original acoustic pub gigs.

So that’s all for now. Don’t wait and expect things to happen, go make them happen yourself. When the great songwriter Albert Hammond moved to the US in the 1970s, despite having numerous worldwide hits as a songwriter he still needed to get out there and make things happen “you’ve got to hustle, no matter what you do. If you don’t…[it won’t happen]”