Booking A Headlining Tour

When first starting out as a musician, what’s the first big dream most people think of? I know for me, it was dreaming about going on tour. That’s the goal, right? Travel across the country and play your music in front of people that just happen to show up. However, it’s not that easy, as many of us have figured out, but there are ways we can make it easier.

Cheers My FriendsWhen booking a headlining tour, the first thing to consider is a fan base. This fan base doesn’t have to be a massive amount of people who you’ve never met before. A fan base is anyone that comes to a show, and decides to see you play at the next show. You have friends, right? Your friends want to support you. They show up, pay for a ticket, and think, “Hey, my friend is pretty good. I think I’d like to see them again.” Boom. Fan base.

In most major cities, there are low capacity venues – 250 and under. Most venues in this range would be content with a 50 person turn out on a week night and some weekends. Guarantee 50, and you should have the date. However, that’s just half the work. Once you’ve got the dates booked, you have to hold your end of the bargain—getting that 50 to the show. So how do you get those people there? Like mentioned before, start with friends and family. They want to support you. However, don’t just rely on Facebook and Twitter to get your show invite out there. Only sending out a Facebook event invite will not get that 50 to your show.

group of teenagers volunteeringNext, go to local places to reach out to people. Who does your music appeal to? For me, high school and college kids tend to like my music. Reaching out to a fraternity or sorority to team up at the show works well for me. They get to set up a table at the show telling about their philanthropy. The people that come for me get to see their good cause, and the friends of the fraternity/sorority get to hear my music for the first time. It’s a win/win situation.

 

Lastly, secure great local support. A lot of times, venues will have a recommendation of good acts in the area. If not, see who’s playing in local clubs in that area. Look on Facebook and see if they’re music is a good fit. After that, get to know the band and become friends. If not only to make a connection as friends, the connections you make in the music community are priceless. The comradery that happens is something not to be taken for granted.

As a suggestion, don’t look into a headlining tour if you’re not successful in your home market first. Start local, build regionally, and then out nationally.
Good luck on booking your tour! Comment below to let us know how it goes.

As you book your tour, use Talent Provider to increase your gigs while you’re on the road.

Has the Emotion of Our Music Become Lost in the Pursuit of Perfection?

About a year ago I was introduced to a documentary by legendary Foo Fighter & Nirvana rocker Dave Grohl. The documentary was, “Sound City” and it was a mind-blowing collection of stories and an eye-opening reminder of where our music is today as compared to 30 or 40 years ago. If you are under the age of 40 this is a MUST WATCH as we have been eyeball deep in the digital age for nearly 25 years and much of what was, is just a distant memory to some, and is non-existent to others. If you have not seen this yet please watch the Official “Sound City” Trailer here…

Unlike today, most people did not have recording capabilities in their own home 25 plus years ago. That’s right, you had to go to the studio, with an engineer and record to TAPE. Which meant you had to have your shit together and do things the right way unless you wanted to blow a hole in your pocket. There was no linear editing on a computer, no copying and pasting and no quick fixes or auto-tune to clean you up. This was organic and raw— but the feeling and emotional elements that came out of something so organic were amazing. Truly, the songs that have stood the test of time and probably always will were not pieced together on a computer. Case in point:  (Recorded at Sound City Studios)

             My son checkin’ the mic for me..

Fast-forward to today. I sit at home in the evening fiddling around with a melody and some chords that have been in my head. A brilliant song comes to me! I pull up Cubase, open up some tracks, lay down some chords on the keyboard (yea, I played it a little sloppy) but I can just QUANTIZE IT and then fix some bad notes in the midi editor. No problem. I usually always have my condenser mic set up as I do a lot of voice over work, pretty much on a daily basis. I turn on the phantom power on my pre-amp, test my mic levels and lay down my melodic idea. But wait! I have the perfect drum loop for this!! I pull open some loops and input something that gets the idea across. I’ve got my song idea laid down for further production in an hour! Amazing! Sounds great right? And for me it is! I’ve been given direct access to do the things I love in my own home and then collaborate with others across the country!

Listen to the music on the radio and on the top 40 charts. Whether you know it or not, or even care, most of these songs have been sliced and diced and tuned to absolute perfection. No human on his or her best day could ever duplicate this studio mix live, because well, 50% of it has been fine tweaked by the computer. Although it’s not immediately apparent to the general public, to a trained ear there does seem to be an alien-like/robotic-like tone to auto-tuned vocals, and it really makes me cringe. Why? Because it doesn’t sound like an honest to goodness flesh and blood human being! And no I’m not referring to T-Pain or Kanye West who use this, ahem… “Interesting” element as a vocal effect. I’m talking about when you watch “Glee” or when you watch the movie “Rock of Ages” or when you watch the “Pitch Perfect” movies, or listen to the majority of the Top 40 artists on the radio. Perhaps it doesn’t bother you but it makes my skin crawl! Here is an example: 

This goes for instrumentation as well, the “live” feeling is gone, as there is no push and pull with tempo or emotion of the playing. It’s safe to say, I’ve “lost that loving feeling” for the music of today. I always have and always will be inspired by Pat Banetar (yes, another Sound City grad), Foreigner (and another!), Journey and U2. All of which incorporate an “earthy”, true to the sound element. Hell, what about The Roots??? Come on people, this down to earth stuff. Perhaps, it’s my age or my experience, but it is a disturbing thought that some people think this is what music is. Music is supposed to make you FEEL, and without putting a FEELING into a recording you cannot express a FEELING to a listener. Much of the feel comes from IMPERFECTION—that’s right, a growl or a crack the voice, or a slightly imperfect vocal can give a song its style—and is relatable because nobody is perfect. This being said, although I find much top 40-radio material catchy, it’s fleeting.

To further dive into this issue I made a phone call to a long time friend Dan Brenner, who happens to be a former band mate, writing partner, amazing drummer and vocalist as well as a High School Jazz Teacher and quarterfinalists for GRAMMY Foundation Music Educator Award. He is a massive Chicago fan and informed me about a recording technique I was relatively familiar with to a point. It’s the use of drum replacement. Mid 80’s this technique started to catch on (due to the advancement in digital technology which is also covered in the Sound City documentary). When using drum replacement, the producer of the track can simply replace any or all of the drumming with drum samples of their liking. It sounds real because it’s samples of REAL drums but it is almost too perfect. You can learn a little bit more about drum replacement here: Drum Replacement: The Dirty Little Secret that Changed Rock. My buddy Dan also mentioned a story about the legendary band Chicago that I wanted to share. Obviously, I did some digging to find a 1994 interview with Danny Seraphine, original drummer and co-founder of Chicago to authenticate his claims. Below is an exerpt from the interview..

JD: The last few albums you were on with Chicago, the drumming got more and more computer-oriented.

DS: Yeah. Absolutely. At first I really, really fought it. I hated it. And then, what happened was, whenever there was any programming done–none was done on 16, 16 was all live drums–but 17…I was one of those guys that really, really tried to stay away from anything to do with drum machines. Hated ‘em. In those days, it really put the drummer in a very subservient position. People started really bashing drummers, you know? Keyboard players, especially. It was terrible. “We’ve got a machine now that’s gonna replace you guys and it doesn’t talk back, it keeps perfect time, and we can program it to play exactly what WE want.” You know what I’m saying? And then I started hearing all these records that were being programmed by what I could tell were keyboard players–non-drummers. You could just hear it. So I said to myself, “Well, you can fight it or you can learn it and take it to another level,” so I bought a SP-12, which at that time was the top drum machine. It was the only sampling drum machine. So I bought one, and we were off the road for quite awhile, so I just took it and learned it inside and out. And then I got myself this really extravagant MIDI setup, with pads, and a computer, and the whole shot, and in fact I just put my sticks down and started programming, because I thought, “Shit, if I want to hear better programming, then I better do it myself.” So the 17th album, I didn’t like some of the parts that were programmed off that 17, but it’s a great record. It wasn’t all programmed, but parts of it were. Now the 18th album, I think I programmed every note except for one ballad–I forget the name of the song–I overdubbed some drums” -10/21/94, Hofnet Communications, Inc, Read Full Interview Here

Granted, I’m friends with many great studio engineers and producers with a lot of mileage under their belts, and some amazing credits to their names. I’m sure they are all laughing at what I am saying right now…. “duh, we do this stuff all the time, it’s industry standard now.”

I suppose the question I am posing is, what is more important? Striving for absolute perfection in a recording? Or is it more important to have more humanistic elements that have feeling? After all, songs are written to make you feel an emotion. Does this pure perfection (that is simply unattainable live) make you feel the same kind of emotion? Or does it trick a generation of ears that know nothing about music into thinking that this is the standard, and then wonder why someone’s performance totally blew live or why they can’t personally sound like Arianna Grande when they sing? As a former vocal coach myself, I can attest to having students who have tried to learn to sing by duplicating the odd auto-tuned vocals of Britney Spears, including the computer generated vocal movements. By all accounts they were pretty good at duplicating this unusual effect. I however, was pretty disgusted with the fact they were learning technique off of something like that. Perhaps it is a matter of balance. I’m not a Top 40 artist but I do write, record and distribute my own material, and it is my own personal expectations that I use live instrumentation on most of my tracks. I however have used plenty of samples and loops as well. I have also made it a point to not have vocals tuned to the point of ridiculousness. I’m pretty sure most of us artists distributing material want slight perfection in our recordings. However, does this perfection take away from the song in the way it is perceived by the listener? What are your thoughts?

Do you think in the pursuit of recording perfection that we have lost the emotion and feel in our music?

 

 

Creating a Great Online Press Kit …..Because the 90’s Are Over.

I have seen far too many videos on the market of professional entertainers that do not have the quality needed to appropriately sell their services to buyers. With all the online tools available today, and the simple video editors that are available to produce a high quality video for next to nothing, it is un-excusable. A great video should include testimonials from clients that have seen your show, and notable places you have performed. In addition, having excellent clips or full-length video of your act or performance is essential.

The video should be of the highest quality and be no more than 4-5 minutes long. If you are a comedian, magician or hypnotist (like myself) having up-tempo music during your intro and outro helps to reel in the online audience. The video should have an appealing introduction, as well a captivating middle and end. Whether you are creating the video yourself, or hire someone else to do so, it is helpful to write down or relay your “storyboard” idea of the video. This promotional piece is selling you and your act, and you should big a big part of the process.

master.phoneconcertI have seen many promotional videos filmed with phones or tablets. The last thing I want to watch is the back of people’s heads or shaky and grainy video footage with terrible sound quality. So my question to you is, if you were a talent buyer how would you like to see an act sell themselves to you?

Great images can tell an awesome story of your act! Always use images in your digital press kit that are of the highest quality and relay the message of what you do. Some of the images I see on the internet of entertainers are pixelated and of poor taste. You might have a great show, but the images DO NOT relay that message to me. They relay that you are cheap,  an amateur, and that you do not take yourself seriously.

Include a technical rider. A technical rider will let the talent buyer know what you will or will not be providing to make your show happen. For example, will you be bringing a PA system, microphones, lighting or props? If not, do they need to supply these for you?

Generally speaking, let the talent buyer know as much about your show as possible. How long is your show? How do you differ from your competitors? Do you specialize in entertaining particular groups of people?

VHS video tape casseteHaving an electronic press kit (or EPK) is easier to create today than in the “olden days”. Not in the too distant past we had to print everything out and send out DVDs or VHS tapes in a nice folder or binder. Your press kit would cost much, much more then. Fueled by printing and duplication costs, materials and on top of all that, postage!

From a professional performer that has been in the business for over 20 years and traveled the world doing what I love, I would say there is no excuse in not creating the best informative digital press kit possible to help sell your act or show. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and a little bit of investment of time and/or money to come up with something appealing. It’s important to understand the business you live and breathe. Sell, sell, and sell what you do! After all, this is your bread and butter!

….. and the 90’s are over.

Balancing Family Life & Career As An Entertainer

Familia en el campoWhere to begin? This is obviously a struggle for anyone with any sort of career, but the fine balance of spouse & children and your continuing career as a professional entertainer is especially taxing.

First things first, having a supportive spouse is key. If you are single, having a solid support system is a must. If you don’t have either of these already, you are certain to be teetering on the edge of insanity, guilt and ready to fall off your lifelong dream bandwagon.

The fact of the matter is, you do not live in that 9-5 time frame that the rest of the world follows. Your job starts at 5pm— the actual “getting ready to be on stage” part. But not until you are sure the kids are taken care of and fed, the sitter arrives on time or the spouse is home from work. Followed by show prepping, getting dressed, looking the part and traveling to your destination. Well into the night you are doing your craft and at 2am you get into your car to go home, to wind down and to lay your head on your pillow at 3 or 3:30am only to be abruptly awoken by an alarm at 6am to get the kids out the door for school.restless sleeping woman

This may not be your every night, but we’ve all had these. Of course your body is achy, your head is thumping and you feel like you are living in the Twilight Zone. Only problem is, you can’t get back to sleep, you have got to finish up some business to secure yourself another payday. That’s right, your job is a 24/7 one. Tired or not, the show must go on and the paperwork needs to be done.

The whole fact that you have continued with this career with a family is a testament to the love of your craft and the dedication to your dreams. We all tend to be the over achieving types, the go-getters of the world, and the anti-corporate nine to fivers… and that’s okay. Many have told you to grow up and get a real job.You’ve made it this far with your middle finger in the air and your pride in tact, but it’s not easy, it’s really not easy. Did I even mention traveling yet? This is a whole beast in itself… how are you going to make those travel dates work?

Singing Woman. Beauty Woman with Microphoneyoung stylish blonde  hipster manOur internal clocks are out of sync, we are in a constant state of learning, doing and promoting. Females especially, are fighting the effects of time, trying to keep up appearances, because let’s face it, a women’s shelf life is not as long as a man in this business and it is a horrifying prospect. A male can get away with a slight beer belly on stage, oh yea, but not us females, oh no. We are also expected to stay young and beautiful, with long flowing locks and a thin frame, and it’s enough to make you a little harsh and critical on yourself. But you know what? You love what you do, so you continue to chug along.

I certainly don’t want to make this article about my own situation, but I’m a prime example of someone trying to balance this lifestyle. First off, I’m a wife, and a Mom to a son with a physical disability. I’ve been a professional singer and performer for the past 16 years; it’s in my blood, and has been long before I had a family. My husband is in the restaurant business and has a lot of responsibility and works very long hours. In my case, I can’t depend on him to be home at a certain time; in many cases we work the same evening hours! I have to be on my toes as the homemaker, 100% responsible for who cares from my son and when, (thank you to my lovely babysitters!) To top it all off I live in Chicago and my extended family lives outside of Baltimore. I’m in a constant state of prepping and scheduling. I must plan out my work schedule sometimes weeks in advance to make sure I’m being a responsible parent, wife and professional. I’m that Mom on the playground in yoga pants and sunglasses on the bench…. no I’m not a shady, drunk Mom. I’m just f*&6$ing exhausted! Per the example below……. this is my typical Saturday morning.

Nothin' wrong with sleeping right on top of your Mom… Like a turtle.

A photo posted by Katie Robinette (@sing2me123) on

I’m not sure there is a single right answer about how to balance a family life and an entertainment career. This is where I open the discussion floor to you to let everyone know what works for YOU personally. Perhaps by teaming up and providing advice, support and suggestions, we can all learn to simplify things a little bit more for ourselves…

The floor is open… How do YOU balance family life and a career in the entertainment business?

How to Get More Gigs on a Shoe String Budget: The Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Booking Potential

young man in a green suit, no moneyThe entertainment industry is not what it used to be 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago for that matter. The world has changed and the old way of doing things have been chucked out the window. Going door to door with a “hard press kit” in a nice little folder with your bio, pics and a burnt CD is a way of the past. This may frustrate many and excite others, as many artists may not be down with the craft of door-to-door selling (especially those younger ones who hate face to face interaction!)

On the flip-side, it’s become increasingly competitive to keep up in the new world of digital marketing, and some will never catch up. This may seem like old news to the fresh, young faces on the scene, but the baby boomers still gigging out to make a living may think otherwise. As a “somewhat” fresh performer on the scene myself, (and I use “fresh” loosely because I’ve been performing professionally for the past 16 years.. but I still think I’m fresh and young!) I find that the younger generations tend to have a better handle on how to represent themselves in a way that is intriguing to agents or venues looking to book their acts. Therefore, I would like to provide you with my list of the Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Booking Potential.

 10. Have a Good Product
First and foremost, make sure you have a good product to sell. You can only sugarcoat something so much. Get your show solid. This may require lots and lots of preparation and practice. Have good chemistry with the other people you will be sharing the stage with.

9. Get it Right the First Time
Do not market or promote yourself before you are finished building your brand and have a nice solid image to showcase. Sometimes the door is only open once, and just like a job interview, if they aren’t impressed from the get-go—that door won’t open again. Have you ever heard, “good things come to those who wait?”— Don’t be hasty in marketing yourself. Take the time you need to “get it tight and get it right”.

8. Speaking of Solid Image
This is where professional photos, Photographer at worka solid product and great marketing material come into play. Yes, this article is about doing it on a shoestring budget and it is possible to do so. Delineate where you want that small amount of money to go and be realistic. Perhaps if you’re not the most attractive bunch of people on the planet, you skip the high-end photos and hire someone to create for you a kick ass logo or a kick ass online graphic image of yourself. Focus on what will SELL YOU, not on what will prevent you from getting gigs. On the other hand, if you have a smokin’ hot male or female leader singer… you may want to invest in those photos. It’s superficial out there people, and that is the entertainment business. Audio demos are important, but no longer the most important element. Booking agents and potential clients want to see VIDEO. This means recording your favorite few tunes or best acts and routines and investing in a high quality video. All this CAN be done for a reasonable cost—make use of family professionals and friends that are willing to share their talents to help you out. Hire a videographer for a few hours, get the video footage and ask 14-year-old Timmy next door (the tech savvy genius) to help you out. I’m sure he’d love $50 or a way to showcase his talents.

7. Be Social
That’s right, be a social as you can be. This business is all about making sure you have an online presence. Obviously, make use of Facebook, Twitter, and Reverbnation (among many others out there… but these seem to be the most pertinent for entertainers). If you don’t know these online platforms, take the time to learn them, or have someone help you out and show you the ropes. Venues and booking agents want to see a following, interest and an effort on your part when it comes to marketing what you do.

6.
 Put Together a Nice Website
You don’t have to dish up big bucks any longer for a solid website. There are many options out there for putting together a solid (and cool!) website costing you near to nothing, Wix.com and GoDaddy are great options for this. Even if you aren’t tech savvy, these online website creation sites are so user friendly that a 4 year old could do it. You can even take advantage of their additional services like SEO to boost your online presence and to get you at the top of search engines.

5. Dress to Impress
Basically, don’t show up to perform looking like the average Joe. You don’t want to look like you just woke up from a nap and threw on a ball cap. It is important to stand out. Take the extra effort to impress and wow the people you are performing for. A lot can be said for a planned outfit and appearance. This small element can be the deciding factor on whether someone wants to book you or not. If your band name is “The Average Joe’s” well, by all means dress like the average Joe, because this is your image, but have fun playing the local dive bar.

4. Put On a Solid Performance.. Every Time. concert band shadows
Put personal issues aside, and focus on the task at hand. Sometimes the crowd isn’t what you were expecting, but that is not an excuse to put on half of the performance you normally would. This means trying even harder. The sign of a great act and a great performer is being able to put on a good show no matter what is thrown your way. This will certainly boost your booking potential. Talent buyers, booking agents and venues want to know that you can keep the crowd engaged no matter what.

3. Play the Right Venues
You would be doing yourself a great disservice playing in a venue that doesn’t appreciate what you do. I have a personal story to share about a booking I had with a former 80’s cover band I was a member of. A local agent booked the show and we were to play for a private party at the local country club for their annual “lobster-fest”. Little did we know or take into consideration that the age demographic of the party was about 30 to 90 years old. An 80’s cover band plays exactly that… music of the 1980’s. We were not a jazz band or a variety band. Needless to say, not many liked what we did and it was the longest night in history. I even had guests threaten to leave if we didn’t do something more up to date. Now, I would like to blame someone else for the horrible show but it was really on us because we didn’t do our homework. Were we the best option for the agent to choose? Probably not, but we said yes. (On a side note, we did pull a jazz set out of mid air— so we did what we could). This is also a sure fire way to get really bummed out about what you do. Not everyone appreciates your craft or your style. Play and perform to those who DO appreciate it. Find the venues that you belong in and where you can grow a following.

2. Find an Agent
Having an agent can help get you work you might not otherwise get on your own. It’s great to be all “gung ho” to do the whole booking aspect on your own, but don’t discredit the clients agents have coming to them daily. Find an agent you can work with and provide them with solid material. Remember the whole “get it right the first time” thing? Make sure when you present yourself to a new agent you have your ducks in a row. If your image is top notch, most likely they will like you and take you on to their roster. It can only help you to have someone else on your team pushing your product.

Friends In Cafe1. Networking, Networking, Networking
The single MOST IMPORTANT element about this business is connecting with other players within’ it. Connecting to one new person can open many doors that would otherwise be closed; this isn’t the time to be an introvert. It is important to smile, shake hands and make a good impression. Find other performers that share your interests, play the same venues, use the same agent, share the same friends and build a relationship with them. You’ll be amazed how they can help you out and create new opportunities for you.

 

The Life of a Roadie- A Behind the Scenes Look at Life on the Road

flightcases       Setting up

There are two things that I’ve always wanted to do with my life, one of them was to make my living as a professional singer and stage performer and the other was to learn the art of sound production…. so I did. I went and got my degree in Recording Arts and also attended trade school for the art of recording and mixing. One thing I’ve never, ever wanted to do however, is live life on the road rolling road cases in and out of trucks and wrapping cables every night. Although, you can’t have a successful career in the live audio production business without “doing your time” busting hump, rolling road cases, wrapping cables and working long hours. I have always been fascinated in finding out what makes that life so attractive to other people. I have many friends in the live production business and I decided to interview my friend Austin Schroeder.

Austin and I go back several years where we worked together at a sound production company in the heart of Amish country Pennsylvania. I remember him being tall and young with a head of wild hair. His license plate said Iowa and he drove a battered and abused car. He had the typical bad boy rocker look, you know, the type of guy you are afraid to take home and meet your Mom. My job at the production company was to book production work, write contracts and take care of travel for the production guys. Austin worked on the production side and I watched him more than once get used and abused and worked to the point of exhaustion. All to get severely underpaid for his efforts; but he kept coming to work and pushed through because that’s how he rolls. Six years later he is still pushing on and has taken on full time traveling production work. I asked Austin if I could pick his brain and this is what he had to say….


First of all, I hate the term “roadie.” When I think of a roadie, I think of a dirty, out of touch with society, carnival worker type of person. I’m a tour manager, production manager, or audio engineer. I’m educated, responsible, and take showers every day!

How long have you been living life as a roadie (or rather… a tour manager, production manager, or audio engineer?)
“It’s been a good 6 years.”

Why did you choose this profession?
“I always knew I wanted to be involved with music in some shape or form. And I didn’t want to spend my life sitting behind a desk, being bored out of my mind.”

What is your background and where did you get your start?
“I started out playing music in bands and working in recording studios, and decided that I needed something more than that.. which led me to the world of live concert production.”

Who are some of the biggest named artists you’ve worked for?
“Cee Lo, Christina Aguilera, Dawes, Train, Queens of the Stone Age, Sara Bareilles, Blues Traveler, Hanson, JoJo, U2, Donavon Frankenreiter the list goes on….”

Have you ever been star struck?
“Honestly, it’s never really phased me. I look at “stars” as just normal people. Which is exactly what they are! Being around it all the time and getting to know these people gives you an overhead perspective.”

Have you had any “oh shit” moments? Like… “Oh Shit— Why is Bono is giving me crazy eyes? What’d I do wrong?” or “Oh shit… Sheryl Crow just threw a bottle at my head cuz’ she hates her monitor mix”
“Haha, I have those moments every day! That’s sort of what keeps me enticed, and keeps me on my toes. Doing live sound is a constant barrage of things going wrong and having to fix them as quickly as possible. Its intense, stressful, and I love it.

What is a typical show day? What do you do after a show is over? Do you go party or go back to a dingy hotel room and drink Jack Daniels and pass out?
“There’s a pretty wide spectrum of a “typical day.” The type of tour I’m doing and the budget that is involved plays a pretty big part in how the day pans out. Usually load in will happen early morning/mid afternoon. Then a sound check will happen to make sure all the gear is working and everything is dialed in and tuned for the show. After the show and after load out happens, where everything gets packed up into the truck or trailer or whatever we have… I’m usually so exhausted from the long day that I’ll go find someplace to chill and relax and take it easy. People’s perception of party life out on the road is usually pretty skewed. It’s a job, just like any other job. We have a lot of responsibilities and things that we have to make sure happen smoothly and efficiently. If we’re drinking jack and partying down all the time it makes it a lot harder to do a good job, and in MY eyes makes you look unprofessional.”

What are your co-workers like? Do you get along?
“I’ve worked with every kind of person you can imagine. Most people that tour are pretty down to earth and easy to get along with. But don’t get me wrong, there a lot out there who AREN’T..

Are you in a relationship? If so, how is it working out with you on the road?
“Currently, no. The first few years I started touring I was in a relationship, and believe me, its tough… it takes a lot of trust, patience, and perseverance.”

What is the hardest thing about your job? The easiest?
“The hardest thing, or the thing that frustrates me the most.. Is having to rely on other people at venues or anywhere really, to help your day go seamless and stress-free. You get let down a lot, and that’s just part of the game. Taking a crappy situation and making it a great one! The easiest part is looking like a bad ass while you’re doing it. ;)”

Do you have any tips for travel? How do you keep from getting sick? Do you have any travel secrets?
“I’ll usually have a stash of some sort of multi-vitamin or drink mix. Emergen-C is a great one. I drink one of those every day. I make sure to try my best to get good sleep, even if it means finding a hideout to take a little nap during the day. And eat healthy! Its so easy to go after the greasy fried bar foods and late night after show fast food stops. You have to resist the urge! Lots of fruits, veggies, and water. I also recently started getting into yoga and doing stretches as often as I can to stay limber. Your body really starts to feel it after sleeping in a bunk on a bus for a few weeks.”

Do you want to do this for the rest of your life?
“Absolutely not. I come across a lot of the old crusty guys that have been touring for 20 or 30+ years and every single one of them seems to be miserable. Living on the road takes a big toll on your body and soul and I see its effect on people all the time. I’m definitely in the infancy of my career, but I’ve already started thinking about the future and what I can do once I start to feel a little crusty.”

Anything else you’d like to add about the “secret life of a roadie” that I haven’t asked…..
“Don’t give the sound person any “suggestions” during the show! They don’t care!” (I’ve heard this one before! Reference my last blog A Golden Ears Perspective: What Your Sound Engineer REALLY Thinks)

This is certainly not a job for the weak or weary, the person who likes the comforts of home or consistency. This type of job takes a strong will, a strong mind and you must have a passion for it. Quite frankly, just the thought of having his job gives me slight anxiety… I’ll stick to the stage or being cooped up mixing behind a computer at home. Got get em’ Austin.

*Photos courtesy of Austin Schroeder

Gigs, Gigs, & More Gigs!

stage

Talent Provider Network is a brand new website that helps entertainers get additional gigs around their existing gig schedule.  Depending on the entertainer’s membership package, they can choose from a 50 to 300 mile radius of exposure to talent buyers from a gig they already have scheduled.

For example: You are an entertainer and you have a gig set up for Wednesday in a city that is outside of your home base. A talent buyer within a 300 mile radius of where your gig is located is looking for an act for their event on Thursday. You would show up in their search as a traveling entertainer and if they like your press kit, then they can book you directly through our website. That way, you get an additional gig without having to travel much further. This booking ability would allow you to gig your way across the country instead of just performing once and then going home. You could be making money on the way to and on the way back from your gig. This can help you fill out dates of a tour, as well. This also works for a smaller radius, it just depends on how big of a radius you’ve chosen to allow.

We created the press kit with talent buyers in mind. Knowing that they require a fair bit of information about your act before they can make an informed decision if they want to book you, we require you to fill out your press kit completely with high quality media and information. Inside your press kit are all the normal things you would expect from a electronic press kit but what also sets us apart from other gig booking websites is the pricing structure that we require from you when you register with Talent Provider Network.

We require you to be very specific about the fee that you want to charge for a particular venue type and there is only a $750 difference between the low price and the high price. This is to give the talent buyer a realistic idea of your price without extreme variations, price gouging, and underwhelming offers.

Our Deals Near You feature, gives you the ability to offer potential talent buyers that are in close proximity of your existing gig up to 50% of your low rate just to entice that buyer into booking you instead of someone else.

Our website gives the power back to you as an entertainer by having you upload your schedule into the system and by asking you very specific questions about the gigs you already have and about what you would be willing to accept as another gig in that area. Our system could possibly get you 2 or 3 gigs on the same day if routed correctly.

Because there are so many unique elements to the system we ask potential members to take the time to thoroughly look at our website and understand how it can benefit them in getting more gigs and making more money. And because we know that an entertainer’s time is valuable, for a limited time we are offering a $25 gift card and a free membership to those who take the time to get their press kit completed and published.

Please visit www.TalentProvider.com and see what we have to offer you as an entertainer! What have you got to lose? Sign up today and get rewarded!

 

Image Credit: Martin Fisch

Podcast – All About Press Kits

All About Press Kits

Hey everyone! We’re back with our second podcast! In this podcast, we’re talking about entertainer press kits and why they are such an integral part of our website! Make sure to leave any questions or comments below!

 

A “Golden Ears” Perspective – What Your Sound Engineer REALLY Thinks…

Sound Engineer

 

Okay, okay, before I even start, this article pertains to the real sound heroes of the world. We are not talking about amateurs, or the ones who “think” they’re professional sound guys or gals because they can throw up a couple of subs, sticks and tops and get a band ready to rock. This also does not pertain to the guys (or gals) who run the church band on Sunday mornings as a hobby. We are talking about the “golden ears” of the industry, those responsible for taking that terrible room or that piercing vocal and making it sound like butter. I’m talking about the engineers that are sought out by so many artists for their incredible sense of sound. To make this extra clear, this interview also pertains to the artists who make use of professional sound services on a regular basis and or those who don’t make regular use of their own front of house engineer.

Many of us on the stage have had varied experiences with sound companies or the people running the rig. Some experiences leave you basking in the glory of “ooh’s and ahh’s” because it was pure unadulterated sweetness. Others have left you praying someone would just get it over with already and knock you out with a beer bottle. When festival season rolls around we all hope and pray that when we arrive to plug in and do our “thing”, that the folks REALLY running the show REALLY care about how you sound. Let’s face it, the sound guy (or gal) can make you or break you. If you’re simply a shitty band… well, you’re shitty and there is only so much someone can do about your bass player who can’t seem to play in the pocket, or the vocalist who is consistently flat. I have decided to ask a real “golden ear” about their career and some issues artists deal with consistently and how he would handle certain situations from his perspective. He’s requested to stay anonymous but has toured with artists like Blues Traveler & Nelly Furtado and has worked the corporate circuit for top CEO’s who entrust him for sound perfection. His experience has been broad and has proclaimed to have been in every type of sound “situation” you can think of. Here is what we discussed…

How long have you been a pro sound engineer? “20 years”

How long has it taken you to get to the point you a felt truly confident about what you do? “Immediately—I knew right away that I was good at what I did. I have never questioned myself.”

As a professional, what is the first thing you do when you walk into a venue? “Honestly? Find the food— or I log onto Yelp to find the nearest food joint. In all seriousness, I look at the gear—more importantly, I find the house tech. I will know how brutal my day will be right away. If this guy is an idiot, I’ll be doing everything myself and relieving him of his duties for the duration of the evening.”

Do you care about the performers on the stage and how they sound? “100%— Essentially what I am doing in a nutshell is making everything louder. However, if the source isn’t a home run then I can’t hit a grand slam.”

What about the sound is most important to you? “Vocalists love me. Getting a vocal to sound like a vocal is the most important. The audience doesn’t go home humming the kick drum.”

What is your favorite thing about your profession? “I love to mix.. I love sound… I’m very passionate about it. Whether mixing a band for 30 drunken wedding guests or whether I’m mixing Nelly Furtado as an opener for U2 in front of 100,000 people, I had an immediate passion for this.”

What is your least favorite thing about your profession? “Human beings are terrible. Travel and the human beings… both terrible.”

What is the most difficult thing about your profession? “Relationships— This profession has more to do with people and how they perceive you. It’s people based success and you become successful through the relationships you build—- I also got lucky early on. There are a lot of engineers I could mix under the table that are a lot more successful than me, it’s all in who you know.”

What do you find frustrating about working with artists? “Artists needs to feel heard— if they feel heard, then they feel like they are being taken care of and they have a better performance. Many artists try to tell me how they like things to be done… and I listen. When I get off stage though, I do what I want and make them sound great. Often times they bring personal matters onto the stage with them, and those things can majorly affect their performances. Sometimes they will take it out on me, but I don’t take it personally.”

How do you deal with a horrible sound guy as an artist? “Well, that’s a PROBLEM, If the sound guy is under qualified then too bad for you. They may listen to a request if you’re a pretty chick and you get out your…. I mean, bat your eyelashes at them.”

“There are two groups of engineers out there. One group thinks it’s about THEMSELVES and the other group thinks it’s about the PERFORMER. Even though I have a huge ego… it’s not about MY ego, it’s about the PERFORMERS ego and making them feel and sound good. That has been the key to my success. The sound engineer needs to ALWAYS be there for the artist, not the other way around.”

So there you have it folks, from a self-proclaimed egotistical, very honest, and successful sound engineer. Your sound engineer should always put you first and listen to your needs. Bottom line is that their job is to make you sound AWESOME! If you simply have no choice but to work with someone unqualified… well, better luck next time!

Member Referral Program

Refer a friend, get a $20 Visa gift card!

Getting rewarded is always a great feeling, right? That’s why we offer a member referral program within the Talent Provider Network! Once you’ve joined as a member of the network, you are given a personalized referral link that is located in your member dashboard. You can email this link to friends to invite them to check out Talent Provider Network for free. For each friend that signs up using your referral link, upon approval of their press kit, we will give you a $20 Visa gift card* as a reward!

 

*Account balance needs to reach $100 before any payments are made from our affiliate referral program.