I watched an interesting phenomenon take place tonight that I’m reflecting back on hours removed from my night out. I had the good fortune on a holiday night off from work to attend a CD release party for one of the bands I’m good friends with in my local scene, Ravage. They recently put out an album on an internationally known metal label, and had 6 others bands with diverse styles playing the bill. These bands came from all parts of New England to play the show, and I felt the crowd and turnout were very good considering two other national acts were playing in other parts of MA and CT on the same night (Motorhead and Doro if you must know).
I watched as many of the musicians I’ve known through the scene would interact with people in the audience. I went up to some I knew and also some I would be meeting for the first time (even if I’ve talked to them on the internet, meeting face to face counts to me as an initial meeting). I noticed who has better people skills than others. Some people I would ask questions and get long answers- others I would ask questions and be lucky to get 5 words or even eye contact.
Have we forgotten the lost art of the conversation? If someone wants to talk to you about your interests, your music, your passion- shouldn’t you at least act like you care? It made me think about some parts of the conversation that I heard- and really feel for the person as they could be doing so much more to expand themselves and their abilities, yet they’ve not fully plugged in to the art of back and forth conversation.
If you’ve gained the good fortune to produce a number of albums that are on different record labels, use that resume to the hilt, get those testimonials from the artists you’ve worked with in writing or on camera and let people know what you can do! Instead of looking at the cup as half empty because people aren’t going to you, you need to remember that the best advocate in the world is yourself. I’ve seen bands in my lifetime who play every show for all that it’s worth- whether they are playing for the bar staff and bands or whether they are playing to a sold out arena.
You want to make an impact? Show genuine care for the audience members. When they want to know more about you, give them a few minutes of your undivided attention. What’s better- going around a room and speaking to a hundred people briefly, or spending quality time with 15-20 people over the course of the night? Make them feel special, important and ask questions- and I assure you the next time they’ll remember who you are and also you’ve probably converted a casual fan into a friend for life.
Maybe when I go to a show, I spend most of my time listening versus talking. I want to get to know the musicians, the audience and feel a part of the community- but I don’t have to feel like the center of attention. Don’t misjudge the shy, quiet ones though- because they can be your biggest advocates to other people in their circle of friends when your next show comes around.
Be fruitful and multiply to attract a higher quality audience. Weather the storm when there are ups and downs, trials and tribulations- because if someone cares enough to want to talk with you, the cup should always look half full. Accept help when it’s offered- even in the music business, no one musician or no one band can make it alone.