By: Tom Gauger
As with any business, finding the specific targeted key is always the adventure when trying to climb to the top. Many fail and fall by the wayside in their attempts to climb the mountain. And many, quite honestly, just stall out without the right talent and management to back up the endeavor. The same holds true in the music business with singers and songwriters. The countless hours that A&R spend trying to find that key song for that new “baby” act is sometimes a relentless task. Oftentimes, the success or ultimate failure of an artist, isn’t the talent or in fact having the unique talent, but the songs that will carry their success down radio airplay lane. Without the right ingredients in the CD mixing bowl, you can almost guarantee failure. What makes for a good song? What songs do up and coming acts look for and how do you obtain these songs that almost create magic in the hearts of the listener when even the intro is played? These are great questions, and many have tried to answer them. I will give you some advice as to what holds true for many of your potential listeners.
If you’ve ever tried to get inside the mindset of a potential fan or one that will purchase your CD, you will notice some distinct differences in their thinking than what is popular or in vogue within the music business culture. To begin with, songs and artists that are currently selling are not the only thing that will sell. You say da, but most get on the current bandwagon with the same old tired sound and song structure and then wonder why they can’t get a record deal or get their songs cut or wonder why people aren’t buying their music. You will have to learn to think outside the box. Think back through the music era as of late and look at all of the styles and how music has progressed from big band, to the Beatles to the many 70’s rock bands to Boston, to the new Chicago (David Foster) albums to the slicker pop artists of the nineties with the barrage of improved keyboard sounds to today. Now I know that we could list hundreds to thousands of bands here, but for the sake of time I think you get the idea.
Are you really thinking about the next layer of the musical cake? What will that sound like? What are you currently doing to write not just off the wall music and productions to sound different, but music that will be the next level of the music era that people will look back at as a turning point in music history? As a singer looking to obtain A side songs for you’re your next CD, you will want to think about how and where you will obtain them. As a former talent booking agent with the William Morris Agency, I know how difficult it can be for artists and writers not only to break into the industry as a whole, but to maintain a credible ongoing writing career writing fresh and new creative lyrics and melodies. Yet the gotta have it today and write it from a fresh perspective is still king. At ReelMusician.com we are always looking at new and fresh production ideas for writers who obtain song production services from our company, and I can tell you that it’s a challenge. We pride ourselves in writing incredible productions and we do, but the art of making it a little different to the point where it stands out, really takes time and effort. Anybody can throw a song production together on the computer with a keyboard and a mic, but to create a unique, yet with musical integrity to the artist’s or writer’s original intent, and within the marketing bounds of today’s music buying crowd, isn’t always easy – It’s an art.
Even within the jingle production side to ReelMusician.com, we are always looking for new and creative ways to really showcase singers trying to break into the jingle singing market. The marketing behind the singer’s jingle demo reel is key. So again, when individuals think they can record their own jingle demo reel with a computer, keyboard and mic, they are most likely mistaken and I would guess most end in failure. Same thing holds for writers and singers trying to obtain top A sided tunes that will be a hit on radio lane. You have got to be writing and recording with individuals who have a proven track record, who think outside the box, utilizing their players ideas even when they overturn your original production idea, because it’s plain a better idea. And seeing that the overall production is the end goal, there is no attitude and hopefully A sided album cuts are produced and recorded.
There are numerous outlets on the web that most everyone is familiar with where up and coming acts can review and contact the writers or artists to obtain permission to record their music. The flood of sites available is astounding. As a writer or singer, comb through these sites and listen for not only valid recording material, but for ideas and ways to steer your next production close enough to mainstream marketable music, but close enough to the edge where your music and production sound fresh and new. See, it’s not that easy. It’s easy to write it here as a valid idea, but significantly harder to put into practice.
As we close, I will offer a few suggestions, and I am well aware that many claim to have the “answers,” but I will just remain confident that you are building your career, making career corrections as needed along the way and are practicing your craft, not merely as an art, but as a way to get a recording contract or plain get your songs cut by a major recording artist. You’ve heard it before, but writers do get significantly better with their writing and productions over time – keep doing it. Don’t be afraid to admit it when either your music or production isn’t working, but keep looking up, because there is hope in your admitting it and moving forward and learning how to better you productions. Don’t have an attitude about your music or the ability to change it, but don’t necessarily change it at every beckoning, because someone else “claims” to always have the superior idea. Lastly, just hang in there, keep at it and don’t be afraid to contact us should you have further questions about song production or jingle singing. Look forward to hearing from you.